Andrew Roberts Morris is a regional account manager for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) Annual Adult Learners' Week Policy Conference on 19 June provides the opportunity for debate and discussion on the role of lifelong learning and the importance of continual learning to address the skills shortage. The conference is attended by key political figures and key representations across the education industry.

david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

"While the economy is improving, it is still fragile and as the recent Employer Skills Survey from UKCES reported, the level of skills-gaps in workplaces across the country is a danger to lasting growth. There is a crucial role that skills and lifelong learning has to play in ensuring that we build a sustainable recovery for all."

With a skills gap that is widening - there is not one answer to fix this problem. We know that we need to be working with young people in schools so that they obtain independent career advice on the best route into professions. We also know that we need to be marketing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects so that they appeal to younger generations and more young people embrace these core subjects.

It is also crucial that we need to be working more closely with employers across industry sectors to enable them to grow talent from within their organisations using the right qualifications to enhance business performance. Employees need to be encouraged to develop skills and expertise to fill 'skills gaps' where possible.

There also is the issue of supporting those who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) and helping people into work or inspiring them into training. While the latest report from the ONS tells us that unemployment has slightly fallen, there are still over two million people out of work.

The 2013 NIACE Adult participation in learning survey , while not surprising, told us that higher socio-economic classes are more likely to have participated in learning and that older people are less likely to take part in learning. I do feel that we need to be working harder to encourage lifelong learning amongst all age groups but especially older learners, giving them new skills to enhance or consolidate the experience they have gained.
Progression is key and evidence shows that those who do study often continue to do so, continuing onto other courses and qualifications. We certainly see that with AAT students and learners that have come back to the classroom. Many start a qualification with us and enjoy it so much they continue on their journey, studying until they feel they've reached their true potential which in many cases is gaining chartered status!

Adult Learners' Week provides a platform to celebrate and showcase phenomenal success stories and we hope encourages those contemplating a course or qualification to take that initial step and do it!

As a professional membership body, we are always encouraging investment in CPD. We engage with council's adult education and learning services across the UK with the task of improving skills. Not only is this a key driver to address social mobility but also accountancy, business and financial skills are essential for any company and are highly sought after. Those who have achieved an AAT qualification know they have the skills and knowledge that is valued by employers.

By working with councils up and down the country, we are able to work with a variety of adult learners that are returning to the job market, career changers or from hard to reach communities that are new to the studying and the classroom environment.

North Yorkshire County Council is one such council that is up skilling its regional NEET population and adult learners by delivering AAT qualifications and seeing a vast percentage (between 70 – 80%) then gain the confidence to secure job roles in both public and private sector or in a family business. Funding to help with the cost of AAT's courses may be available depending on individual circumstances.

We need to work hard to get people into work and sustainable employment but much more needs to be done to ensure we as a nation are helping others reach their potential. This is important locally, regionally and for UK plc to be competitive in the future. High quality vocational qualifications have a big role to play to get people of all ages back into learning and to give people confidence to apply for and secure new or more senior roles which is good news for businesses and economic growth.

Andrew Roberts Morris is a regional account manager for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page