Europe and International


Our role as the UK National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning

As the UK National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning 2015-17, L&W  has built on the work undertaken in 2012-14 and 2014-15, and continues to contribute to the European Commission’s strategic priorities:

Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality; Improving the quality and efficiency of education and training; Promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship; Enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training.Improving the knowledge base on adult learning and monitoring the adult learning sector

What we’re doing

Development strands

On behalf of DFE and the European Commission for the European Union’s Agenda for Adult Learning we are delivering a programme of work which spans the following themes: Adult Basic Skills, Young Adults Employability, Digital Skills for Under-represented Groups.

These strands build on the previous programmes of work in 2014-15. Click here to read a summary report of the Projects and activities of the 2015-17 programme of work.

Adult Basic Skills

This programme revolves around the Citizens’ Curriculum approach to basic skills, which interlinks language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills with wider health, financial and civic capabilities to bring about increased participation and better outcomes for adult learners. In turn, this supports national priorities for improving adults’ skills, and the economic and social benefits arising from this.

The aims are to develop, through longitudinal research methods and evaluation, an enhanced evidence base about the Citizens’ Curriculum’s impact on longer term outcomes for participating learners. This will include achievement, progression to employment and further learning, and will be shared across the four UK nations and more widely with EU stakeholders. We will also develop, through research, structured discussion, and links with EPALE UK, a better understanding amongst stakeholders of UK national / devolved policy and EU policy in relation to the Citizens’ Curriculum capabilities. Click here to read our Citizens’ Curriculum 2017 Evaluation Report.

Young Adults Employability

This programme strand aims to contribute to key national priorities of youth employment and social inclusion through a young-people led research model called ‘What Employers Want’.

This will be achieved through desk research to identify/review current national programmes that support young peoples’ employability and transitions to employment, and the effectiveness of such programmes in enabling young people to understand and develop the skills and attributes that employers value. We will conduct new young people-led research with employers to identify the range of ways in which employers can support young people to develop employability skills, barriers and how such barriers can be overcome. We will share key findings at local, national level and EU with a range of stakeholders, including employers, learning and skills providers, specialist support agencies, local authorities, LEPs and employer forums, and via EPALE UK.

Digital Skills for Under-represented Groups

This programme aims to help improve digital skills of those niche groups by developing a fully trialled CPD programme to support adult educators in the four UK nations to better use technology to support under-represented groups.

We will identify relevant existing research and effective practice in the use of learning technologies with niche groups and promoting an awareness of this work through EPALE UK and other forums/platforms. We will also identify effective models of delivery and support for blended / online learning programmes. We will design and develop an online CPD course for adult educators (including those supporting learners in the workplace) to increase their capacity and capability in the use of technology with niche groups. We will deliver the course to adult educators in the 4 UK nations with input and participation from other EU states.

State of the Nations Report

In addition to the three themes above we  convened an expert group of researchers to oversee the compilation of a State of the Nations report. This  brought together national, international and regional research on adult learning on the impact of adult learning on health, work and communities, in order to influence policy makers and practitioners alike. The evidence in the draft research report was discussed and debated at a summative conference in partnership with EPALE UK in October 2017. The conference on-line platform gives a broad outline of the workshops, speakers and overall programme of the 2 days. The day 1 and day 2 ‘storifies’ give a ‘flavour’ of the activities.

Click here to read the final research report, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

We also published summary briefings for Northern Ireland; Scotland and Wales.

Impact Forums

Adult learning in the UK takes place within a devolved policy context, with Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England responsible for their own nation’s policy. L&W’s approach to coordination of the UK’s contribution to the European Agenda has been to enable sharing of best practice within the four devolved administrations and between them. We have therefore developed Impact Forums in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These engage a range of policy makers, influencers and decision makers in capturing, sharing and highlighting a solid evidence base for Adult Learning policy development. They draw together, not only representatives who are interested in adult learning, but also those from diverse health sectors; those from different community interests and perspectives along with employers and representatives from business and commerce.

The forums are complemented by seminars, conferences and events which draw even wider audiences of policy makers and practitioners, in sharing research, evidence and experiences.  The four nations share policies and practices and there is emerging evidence of the impact on change in those administrations. The Impact Forums capture and record insights into policy and practice impact and use EPALE platforms to share them.

In November 2015 we presented at the National Coordinator meetings in Brussels on the Impact Forums.

Who we’re working with

We’re working with partners and stakeholders across the UK – with representation from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – and Europe sharing good practice policy messages between member states. We are partnering with Scotland Learning Partnership, Forum for Adult Learning NI, Ecorys and are co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. We also continue to work with EPALE EU and EPALE UK.

To share the outcomes widely, we are working with the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), the European Basic Skills Network (EBSN), and with the National Agency for the Lifelong Learning Programme to align our activity with the Erasmus+ programme. We also use high-profile platforms like Festival of Learning  and are engaging UK politicians and policy-makers through face-to-face meetings, seminars, published documents, social media and large-scale conferences.

Keep up to date with our workEU Learning

Take a read of our blogs and join in the conversation on Twitter by using #EULearning and #SettingAgenda17.

Watch our video highlights from the 2017 conference, Adult Learning: Setting the Agenda.  

A copy of the 2015 Conference Report can be found here.

Find all our related resources online.

If you want to get involved in our work, or attend one of our events, please contact [email protected].