From education to employment

Event to Promote Learning at Heart of Community Targets Effective Provision

Slough recently played host to an event called “Action for Communities” designed to promote placing learning at the centre of community and economic well-being.

The event, held at The Centre Conference Venue, discussed how to enable adults to plan a building block approach to their learning by ensuring access to learning and that progression routes are effectively co-ordinated. The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has been working with partners in the South East on the development of a model for learning brokerage to facilitate learners ““ one of the points raised at the event.

Broad Support

NIACE is the leading non-government organisation for lifelong learning and exists to encourage more and different adults to engage in better quality learning of all kinds and campaigns for, and celebrates the achievements of, all adult learners. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) jointly sponsored the event.

Skills Minister Phil Hope MP, who spoke at the event on Wednesday, said: “We are committed to learning for its intrinsic value, for personal and self fulfillment and for community development. Learning gives people confidence with which they can achieve anything. It brings a wide range of individual, family and local benefits and can reach out to the most isolated people in our communities.”

He continued: “Learning available must meet the changing needs of local communities. We are supporting the development of new local partnerships led by local LSCs to enable communities to set their own priorities and engage in a coherent way. Action for Communities will help build a strong platform for revitalising Personal and Community Development Learning in the South East.”

Diversity in Learners

Jenny Williams, NIACE Regional Development Officer for the South East, said: “There is considerable research which illustrates how diverse adults” motivations to learn are. The wider benefits that learning can offer, not only in terms of our employability and earning potential, but also in relation to improved health and well being, lead to a greater sense of security and confidence, and considerable more engagement in community activities.”

She continued: “There is a great opportunity with the Action for Communities approach to explore new ways of working together with communities through networks and partnerships to get the best from a joined-up approach to planning and delivering learning. The more silos that Action for Communities breaks down, the more communities will be able to get the best deal for themselves and embed a culture of learning with benefits for learners, communities and the economy of the South East.”

Henry Ball, Regional Director of the LSC South East, said: “The LSC five year vision is of a well planned and highly responsive system of learning and skills provision in the Region. We look forward to working with partners to develop an Action for Communities model to ensure a wide range of accessible learning provision in the community and to align our funding with others to ensure we reach those most in need, including people who aren”t working but who want to.”

Paul Keely

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