Lifelong learning supports social inclusion and wellbeing for people of all ages, and helps people adapt to change so they can retrain and update their skills throughout life. It can help form the basis of a fair, prosperous and inclusive society in the context of global economic change, an ageing population with longer life expectancy, changing patterns of work, political change and growth in automation and artificial intelligence.
Over the last decade investment has decreased substantially and adult participation in learning in Wales has fallen. Our adult participation in learning survey also identifies stark inequalities in access, with participation lowest among adults who could benefit most.
The Welsh Government has set out their intention to develop a right to lifelong learning to support individuals, communities and the economy. To be meaningful this new right must focus not just on the entitlement to learning but also on the infrastructure necessary to make it a reality for individuals. This includes the access to advice and guidance, investment in community-based services, alignment with health services, and flexible entry points for learners.
How adults make decisions about learning. We explored with adult learners how their motivations for learning were influenced by personal, social and economic circumstances, as well as past experiences of education. Working with the Department of Adult Community Education, we will shortly publish research into the motivations of adult learners at Levels 2 and 3 and their reasons for deciding to learn.
Motivations and barriers to learning. We explored the barriers, motivations and triggers for learning amongst adults through in-depth interviews with current and recent learners, and non-learners, including participants with demographic characteristics typically associated with lower participation in learning, to provide insights on how to best target these groups. Working with the Department of Adult Community Education, we will shortly publish research into the motivations of adult learners at Levels 2 and 3 and their reasons for progressing.
Career reviews. We piloted Career Reviews taking a holistic approach to help adults take stock of where they are now and what they want to achieve in their working life. This is increasingly important given that working lives are changing, with many people staying in work longer, changing careers, becoming self employed, or returning to work having had children.