As we celebrate the achievements of adult learners from across Wales during Adult Learners’ Week, it’s important to look at the wider benefits of the sector and its importance to the Welsh economy.
Recognising the importance of and investing in the upskilling and reskilling of adult learners to ensure economic recovery has never been so important as it is now – in the fast-changing post-Covid landscape. Wales will need an adequately skilled workforce which is agile and flexible in order to allow it to thrive.
Adult learning in action
Cardiff and Vale College Aero student Kierran James is a true example of the benefits of adult learning. Faced with a number of adversities in his younger adult life, he chose to engage with a Level 3 qualification which put him on the path to gaining a first-class degree in Aircraft Maintenance. Kierran has also gone on to win the Life Change and Progression L&WI Inspire! Award too. He is a true example of how lifelong learning can turn a life around, both professionally and personally, and how individuals can go on to make a valuable contribution to their communities, both economically and socially.
Promoting wellbeing and good mental health
Gaining qualifications at any age can not only help build a workforce with the right skills needed for the new normal, but also inspire people to keep learning to explore new directions and keep their minds and bodies healthy too. Students of all ages can learn a wide range of new skills. Further education colleges across Wales offer a number of courses to help develop the skills needed for work, including for those learners who have not been engaged in the education system for some time. Classes are tailored to suit the needs of the learner, so whatever the experience, there will be a suitable course at the right level available.
ColegauCymru would like to see Welsh Government build on the success of pilots such as Personal Learning Accounts (PLAs) and Flexible Adult Learning to ensure that access to online and blended learning models are available to adult learners. We are supportive of the Education Minister’s commitment to a right to lifelong learning and the sector is keen to see further detail on how this right can work in practice.
ColegauCymru is committed to working with Welsh Government and other partners to develop the right to lifelong learning and to the restructuring of adult learning in Wales to help improve community resilience in the response to the Covid19 pandemic.
Learning throughout life can provide a positive impact on the development of skills, health and wellbeing, and sparks social engagement in those furthest away from education.