Festival of Learning 2018 award nominations open

2 November 2017

Adult learning can help transform lives, communities, families, and workplaces. Yet latest data shows 900,000 fewer adults taking part in learning than five years ago. So it’s perhaps never been more important to celebrate the best in adult learning and inspire more adults into learning.

Festival of Learning has been doing this for more than 25 years. We are in search of individuals, tutors, employers and projects that have used learning to transform their lives and the lives of others.

Nominations for the 2018 Awards open today, Thursday 2 November, and will close on Friday 5 January 2018. The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of adult learners and aim to inspire others to discover the power and joy of learning for themselves.

Funded by the Department for Education and coordinated by Learning and Work Institute, the awards are presented across four categories:

  • individuals who have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work
  • tutors whose valuable contribution to adult learning and the impact they have had on their learners deserves recognition
  • innovative learning projects or provision that could be replicated or adapted by other learning providers
  • employers that have used learning to develop and utilise the skills of their workforce to improve productivity, increase staff retention and enhance their business performance.

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute, said, “Adult learning makes a real difference to people, the economy and society, and it’s important to promote and recognise that contribution. That’s what the Festival of Learning is all about. We showcase the improvements made and the benefits reaped on all levels, but we need your inspirational stories to achieve this.

“Learning happens at all stages of adult life and at all ages, through classes, courses, and day to day at work. Habib Rezaie won last year’s Outstanding Individual Learner Award. He came to the UK from Afghanistan at age 16 without his family or any English. Ten years on, he has a degree and is working for a charity supporting people like himself. It’s those stories we value and want to celebrate.”


Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive and General Secretary at The WEA said

“Habib’s journey illustrates perfectly the transformational effect of education. He has travelled further in terms of physical distance, emotional and intellectual development than many successful professionals or business leaders. He epitomises the talent pool in the UK today which can add so much value to our economy and society – if only we provide the infrastructure and the investment in all age learning.”


Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, said

“The Department for Education is proud to be a longstanding supporter of this important project and I look forward to seeing this year’s nominations. It is vital that we encourage many more people to take up the chance to learn throughout their lives and to build the skilled workforce our economy needs. I am pleased that we are able to mark and celebrate the achievements of those learners, learning providers, tutors and employers that are making a special commitment to achieve this.”


NOCN sponsor the Learning for Work and Employer awards. MD, Graham Hasting-Evans said

“We know that learning has positive benefits in many ways. It not only changes careers and enhances prospects, but it is good for health and wellbeing. Every year, we are privileged to hear the amazing stories of inspirational people. I am confident that the quality of nominees this year will be just as inspirational as ever.”


Marcella Collins, Managing Director UK, at Hotcourses Group, a Festival of Learning partner said

“For many people, getting back into education has not only instilled them with newly found self-belief, but allowed them to support their communities using these new skill sets. For others, it has enabled them to forge a new career path that they didn’t previously think was possible. Together with the Festival of Learning, we hope to showcase examples of why and how adult learning is so important for our society and country.”

For more information and to submit your award nomination, visit www.festivaloflearning.org.uk