When people have the opportunity to learn in their own communities, it helps them make positive changes for themselves and their families, and to take control of their lives. This is what our research reviewing the Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF) found. CLIF – a £4 million grants fund from the Skills Funding Agency, administered by the Learning and Work Institute – funded al-most 100 community learning projects which engaged over 15,000 learners. As part of CLIF’s evaluation, we also produced a number of reports outlining the positive impact of community learning on volunteering, digital inclusion, employability, families, health, and socially vulnerable groups.
Through managing the Equality and Diversity Innovation Fund (EDIF) on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency in 2014, we also developed the capacity of the sector to meet the public sector Equality Duty by supporting self-improvement and promoting good practice. EDIF supported 40 education and training organisations across England to deliver projects to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in adult learning. Projects findings and resources can be found online.
We continue to work closely with the Agency, currently on delivering a support programme to assist providers with the implementation of the Agency’s Community Learning reforms. To achieve this, we developed the Community Learning Reform which provides a source of information, resources, materials, case studies and guidance documents.
As part of our ongoing commitment to recognise the unique contribution that volunteers make in enabling adults to access learning locally and in the workplace, the Learning and Work Institute manages the Community Learning Champions National Support Programme. Our dedicated website provides a wealth of information and resources for community learning volunteers and the staff who support them, most of which has been developed in partnership with CLC schemes across England. They reflect a wide range of good practice and show the diversity and creativity of the CLC approach.
The Learning and Work Institute is leading the discussion amongst stakeholders at a national level about how the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Community Learning providers are working together to respond to needs in local communities.
The Learning and Work Institute have recently published findings of a survey that investigates approaches to capturing wider outcomes and social value currently in use among community learning providers.