UK contribution to EU Agenda for Adult Learning

26th April 2013

Learning for a Better World, organised by NIACE, stressed the need for adult educators to make a better case for investment, improve analysis of learner participation and motivation, and develop robust strategies to inspire adults who have benefited least from their initial education to take up learning.

Richard Spear, Director for Wales and Strategic Planning at NIACE, said:

“I am delighted that the inaugural conference for the UK’s contribution to the EU Agenda for Adult Learning is being held in Cardiff, Europe’s youngest capital. The conference will give us an excellent opportunity to discuss what works, and what doesn’t, across the UK and indeed Europe. With the support of some of the world’s leading experts on lifelong learning, we have put together an exciting programme that will interest learners, researchers, policy makers and practitioners. The event will provide the platform for NIACE’s activity over the coming eighteen months in our role as the UK National Coordinator for the Agenda for Adult Learning.”

Joyce Black, Head of Life Skills at NIACE, said:

“Together with our European partners, NIACE will work to meet the European Agenda’s aspirations of making lifelong learning a reality. Improving the quality of education and training, promoting active citizenship through adult learning and enhancing innovative learning environments is a key element of our work. Within its role, as UK coordinator in particular, NIACE will continue to work with its partners and stakeholders to promote adult learning across the UK, as well as to highlight the European dimensions; sharing good practice within the UK and the EU; and sharing policy messages between member states.”

The conference, which sold-out, brought together adult learning practitioners, policy makers, learners and researchers from several countries across Europe and representing a range of interested bodies from large transnational organisations to small local groups. Learning for a Better World is part of the European Agenda for Adult Learning which was adopted by Council Resolution in November 2011. NIACE the UK National Co-ordinator for the Agenda – and is the only NGO co-ordinating activity across all member states – is running a number of innovation projects and peer learning activities throughout 2013 and 2014.

Attendees took part in a number of workshops and heard from NIACE representatives, as well as other leading voices from the sector, including:

  • Jeff Cuthbert, AM, Deputy Minister for Skills, Welsh Government
  • Martina Ní Cheallaigh, European Commission
  • Professor John Field, Professor of Lifelong Learning, School of Education, University of Stirling
  • Professor Tom Schuller, Director, Longview and Director of the Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning
  • Kim Thorneywork, Chief Executive, Skills Funding Agency

Kim Thorneywork, Chief Executive, Skills Funding Agency said:

“Adult learning makes a vital contribution to the overall economy but we know that the benefits are much wider than that. Whilst learning plays an important part in the health of the economy it also has a hugely beneficial impact on the lives and well-being of individuals and their local communities.”