Adult Participation in Learning Survey 2017

Learning has positive benefits for individuals, communities and the wider economy . Increasing and widening access to learning is crucial to future prosperity, fairness and social inclusion in the UK. Despite the strength of this evidence, the UK has seen a recent decline in the number of adults participating in learning and training . If we are to engage more adults in learning, it is vital that we understand patterns of behaviour, and adults’ motivations and their barriers to their engagement.

For over 20 years, Learning and Work Institute (L&W) has undertaken an annual survey of adult participation in learning. The survey, which draws on data from a national representative survey of 5,000 adults across the UK (or Great Britain in 2017), provides a rich evidence base on who participates in learning, their motivations, barriers, and benefits experienced.

This report presents the findings from the 2017 survey, which was funded by the Department for Education (DfE). This report also provides, for the first time, segmented statistical analysis using disadvantage indicators to explore what the policy levers might be to engaging adults who are historically least likely to learn.

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