Strategic Plan 2016 - 2021

Our vision is for a prosperous and fair society in which learning and work provide opportunities for everyone to realise their potential and ambitions throughout life

Our Mission

  • We are an independent research and development organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion.
  • We research what works, influence policy, develop new ways of thinking, and help implement new approaches.
  • Working with partners, we inspire people to learn and help transform people’s experiences of learning and employment.
  • What we do benefits individuals, families, communities and the wider economy.

Our Values

  • Ambition: the leading and powerful voice for the benefits of lifelong learning and economic inclusion.
  • Expertise: using evidence-based thinking to deliver real-world change in learning, skills and employment.
  • Independence: an unshakeable commitment to being open-minded, honest and fair.
  • Collaboration: putting partnership and networking at the heart of what we do and how we operate.

Our Ambition is for:

  • Active citizens and healthy communities: the wider benefits of learning and skills support more vibrant, tolerant, safe and healthy communities.
  • Equality and inclusion for social justice and life chances: a society where everyone has the opportunity to learn, build skills and work regardless of their background.
  • Full employment and high quality work: ensuring everyone who can work has the opportunity to do so, and to progress at work and build a career.
  • Higher productivity for a stronger economy: learning and skills are key drivers of economic growth, productivity and successful businesses.

The context we are working in:

  • Changing economy and public spending constraints: The rise of emerging economies and advances in technology are altering the types of jobs available and the skills needed in those jobs. At the same time, lower economic growth and the continued deficit means public spending will remain tight. This means a need to reform public services to increase efficiency and identify other sources of funding. Meaning people need to update their skills more often, and continually adapt to change and new technologies.
  • Changing society: People increasingly expect access to high quality public services when and how it suits them, and identify more with issues than party politics. These rising expectations potentially conflict with constraints in public finances. However, technology and reform have potentially transformative impacts on access to and delivery of services. Meaning people need a broader set of skills to fully participate in society, and offering new ways of delivering learning, skills and employment services.
  • Changing demographics: An ageing population means lengthening working lives and changing health & caring responsibilities.Increasing employment among disabled people and cutting long-term worklessness will be central to delivering full employment. Meaning employment support needs to be integrated with health and other public services, and that people in work will need to change jobs and upgrade their skills more often and more flexibly.

...translating into two "strategic purpose" themes:

  1. Life and Society
    1. Citizens' curriculum: Ensuring all citizens have the core set of capabilities they need in 21st century Britain, including a central focus on English and Maths
    2. Improving life chances: Increasing access to learning & work, including by extending the reach and impact of family learning and community learning approaches
  2. Work and Careers
    1. Full employment: Building more integrated support to increase employment, with a particular focus on support to tackle long-term worklessness and people with disabilities
    2. Apprenticeships & progression: Supporting progression for low paid workers including through Universal Credit, promoting growth in and access to high quality Apprenticeships and higher skills alongside wider work-based learning

...supported by two "enabler" themes:

  1. Making the system work
    1. Devolution: Which services should be devolved and how best to do so
    2. Funding: How to increase employer & individual investment, including through Advanced Learner Loans and personal accounts
    3. Personalisation: How to ensure services are driven by individuals and employers, including through user voice, focus on outcomes and purchasing power
  2. Campaigning
    1. Changing policy & delivery through our evidence base, research and ideas;
    2. promoting learning to individuals in the Festival of Learning & Adult Learners' Week.

How we will deliver our strategic priorities:

A number of components help us deliver our ambitions:

  1. A fundamental commitment to equality and diversity: In all of our work we will seek to understand, challenge and address the inequalities in access to and achievement in all forms of learning and work. We will do this across our priorities as well as supporting particular groups of people in order to maximise the impact we make
  2. Strong leadership: Board and committees, supported by senior staff, need a wide spread of skills and experience as well as allowing for the diversity of voices which our work encompasses.
  3. Professional and skilled staff team and associates: We need a strong team of staff and associates with the experience, credibility and relationships across all of our core priorities.
  4. Robust accountability: We will build stronger relationships with partners and supporters to ensure we are accountable. We will review how best to ensure our work is informed by and works with a wide range of partners, including considering our membership offer.
  5. Secure & diverse funding: We will set out for each programme the work we want to carry out, the costs involved and the funders and partners we will work with.
  6. Clear measurement of impact: We will build into all of our work clear measurements of the impact we want to achieve and closely monitor delivery.

Our market offer (what we deliver):

  • Research & evaluation
  • Policy advice & guidance
  • Statistics & analysis
  • Product development
  • Piloting new approaches/innovation
  • Campaigns & promotions
  • Conferences, events & training


L&W Impact Report 16-17

The work we do is aimed at securing positive change for individuals and communities to secure increased access to learning and skills and improved employability and career progression.

This impact report sets out our campaigning, research, development projects and policy advice for the last financial year 2016 – 2017.  All have been achieved with the support from a range of partners and stakeholders including Welsh Government.