Improving the system
Over the past 25 years, the publicly-funded further education and skills system for people over the age of 16 has seen enormous change, with many years of public spending restraint. This has resulted in a system which is insufficiently flexible and responsive to the needs of local labour markets, local communities and local people. We need a unifying vision for how adults will be supported to participate in learning and skills throughout their lives, as we face up to public sector funding cuts and reduced investment by employers, in training their workforces.
The Learning and Work Institute is working to create more learning opportunities for people of all ages, and to develop different ways for adults to participate. There are substantial economic benefits from lifelong learning, which cultivate better and higher skills for the economy, improving productivity and developing more successful businesses. The social benefits are profound, leading to stronger communities, better attainment in schools, and a more tolerant society, with active citizenship, and improved health and well-being.
An ageing population, a globalised labour market and new technologies transforming workplaces, require a new approach. Our 2015 Manifesto seeks a re-balancing of individual, employer and government roles in lifelong learning, and articulates a vision of a learner-centred system, empowering every adult to take ownership for their own learning and development throughout their lives.