With participation in having fallen to a record low, Have a Go Month aims to help more people take part in lifelong learning

This September, a dazzling array of free learning activities are taking place across England as part of Festival of Learning; the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in the country.

Lifelong learning has huge benefits for people’s careers, health and wellbeing. With rapid changes in the technology set to transform the economy, and with lengthening working lives, the chance to learn throughout life has never been more important.

Yet in recent years, the number of adults taking part in learning has been falling. The latest adult participation survey showed that just one in five adults (19%) are taking part in learning; the lowest rate in the survey’s 20 years. The adults who could most benefit from taking part in learning – including those who left school early and those with lower levels of qualification – are the least likely to take part.

Have a Go Month aims to change this and to boost participation in lifelong learning across the country.

For the whole month, people have the chance to try their hand at a huge range of activities – from a taster session for a teaching assistant course at WEA, to yoga courses in Salford. There will be events going on up and down the country, from talks and lectures to online courses; from open days to taster sessions. Events are being hosted in colleges, universities, councils, libraries, museums and other community hubs, to ensure that learning is accessible for all.

Have a go Month is part of Festival of Learning. Organised by Learning and Work Institute, Festival of Learning is the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in the country.

If people want to get involved, information on taster sessions and other free learning activities is available through local colleges, community learning providers and the National Careers Service.

Stephen Evans Dec 2018 100x100Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said:

Learning helps people discover new passions, find new friends and become more active in their community. It increases self-confidence, enhances career prospects, improves health and wellbeing, and empowers people to change their lives for the better.

“Festival of Learning aims to inspire people to get back into learning, by highlighting opportunities available and demonstrating the benefits for individuals, families and communities.

“Have a Go Month is in September, but there are always opportunities to learn at any time of the year. We hope that people will find the right time, place and topic for them to try learning and experience the benefits for themselves.”

david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges said;

I love have a go month because it gives people a chance to try out learning without making a big commitment.

“We are all born with a joy for learning and a curiosity about the world, but sadly for many people their education just does not work out well. Coming back to learning as an adult can be a daunting prospect and can take a lot of self-confidence.

“That’s it’s so important to allow people to simply have a go and re-kindle that learning bug. I’d encourage everyone and anyone to try it, enjoy it and to think about other learning which could help in their lives and in work.”

A Department for Education Spokesperson said:

“It is never too late to learn something new. There are so many exciting opportunities available from learning a new language, taking up a new hobby or learning the skills needed to retrain and secure a new career.

“Through the Adult Education Budget we are supporting adults across the country to gain the skills they need for work, or to go on to further education or training. This includes fully funded courses in English and maths, and from 2020 we will provide free adult basic digital skills courses so more people can develop these essential skills to get ahead in work and in life.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved and try out a new activity or reignite an old passion.”

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