New Demos report on ESOL backs NIACE Manifesto

19 August 2014

A new Demos report on improving ESOL provision has backed NIACE’s General Election 2015 Manifesto proposal for the introduction of Personal Skills Accounts, which alongside a major, independent review of funding in the adult skills system could help address capacity issues in the ESOL sector.

Joyce Black, NIACE Assistant Director for Development and Research, said:

“One of NIACE’s aims is to make lifelong learning a key contributor to the creation of strong and sustainable local communities. Our General Election 2015 Manifesto argues that Personal Skills Accounts for all adults, linked to an entitlement to career reviews to help people decide what skills development will work for them, would go a long way to making this a reality. The report from Demos also recommends better support for workplace ESOL, which is reinforced in our Manifesto which maintains that better engagement with employers will lead to a greater understanding of their medium and long term workforce skills needs and will stimulate their investment in training.”

Alex Stevenson, Head of ESOL at NIACE said:

“This is a really refreshing report on ESOL which identifies many of the issues faced by providers, practitioners and learners under the current system – such as a lack of information about ESOL, the lack of a joined up strategic approach nationally and perverse incentives in the current funding and qualifications arrangements. Working from the welcome starting point that ESOL can unlock migrants’ potential, it highlights the many advantages of taking a more coherent approach to ESOL provision – like better employment opportunities, as well as better access to health and education for adults who participate in ESOL learning – and demonstrates the wider societal benefits for all. Policy makers, providers and practitioners may not agree with all of the report’s recommendations and suggestions, but they certainly provide a good basis for further debate, and work on the development of ESOL policy and practice.”