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Report outlines adult learning best practice

Vocational teaching and learning for adults must have a “clear line of sight to work” to be effective, according to a new report.

According to the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning’s report, it should be based on a “two-way street”, where employers and education providers work closely together at every level.

The best adult vocational teaching and learning has access to industry-standard facilities and resources, and is taught by professionals that are able to combine their expertise in their occupational area, with expertise as teachers and trainers, added the report.

Frank McLoughlin, the Commission’s chair, said: “This Commission has been informed by excellent examples of adult vocational teaching and learning across all parts of the economy.

“The best provision we have seen has been collaborative in nature, based on what we are calling the two-way street between providers and employers. It is the partners of the vocational education and training system, working in collaboration, who must now act to achieve the vision we are setting out.”

NIACE, which encourages all adults to engage in learning, said the report boosted the argument that a successful economy needs an outstanding vocational learning system, and should not be seen as ‘second class education’.

Fiona Aldridge, head of learning for work at NIACE, said: “We are really pleased to have been working with the Commission on this vital report which has many recommendations to support. In particular the recognition that adults learn in a different way to young people, the emphasis upon the importance of English and maths, the tailored approach to qualifications and the need to put curriculum-development and programme-design back at the heart of vocational teaching and learning.

“However for excellent examples of vocational teaching and learning to become the norm and to enable individuals, businesses and communities to grow and succeed, it’s vital that we do not treat learners as passive recipients. We must listen to them – their experiences, knowledge and expectations are vital to the process and progress of vocational learning.

Natalie Thornhill

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