Lifelong Learning

NIACE's Key Contribution to Adult Learning

Leicester (UK), October 2014 - A report presenting the UK's contribution to the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) 2012-2014 has been published by NIACE, which has recently had its role as UK Coordinator for EAAL extended for a further twelve months. NIACE is the only non-government body to be leading on this work in Europe.

The report details the outcomes of eight nationwide projects developed by NIACE together with other UK partners. From financing adult learning, to researching employer attitudes, to recruitment, the projects shared best practice and strategies to achieve wider participation of excluded and marginalised groups in learning.

The report informs the focus of European cooperation in adult-education policies for the period 2012 to 2020, setting out five key priorities for the EAAL:

  • making lifelong learning and mobility a reality
  • improving the quality and efficiency of education and training
  • promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship through adult learning
  • enhancing the creativity and innovation of adults and their learning environments
  • improving the knowledge base on adult learning and monitoring the adult learning sector.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, commented, "We have been highly active in Europe, making the case for adult learning across all areas of public policy. As adult educators we know the profound difference that our work makes to people’s lives. It is just that sometimes we seem to want to keep this to ourselves. The European Agenda for Adult Learning is a great opportunity to learn from colleagues across Europe and use this knowledge to inform UK policy. Of course, this works the other way, too: I know that our research in the UK has informed and motivated colleagues in other parts of Europe.

"However, we also face a challenge from our many adults who are not motivated to learn or to fund their own learning. This goes for employers and individuals alike and applies to all types of learning. NIACE works hard to address this challenge, as well as to influence government policy by working directly with learners and employers to make the case for adult learning. With our position as UK co-ordinator having been extended for another twelve months, we look forward to continuing this work at a crucial time for Europe’s economy and society."