• 2016

    Learning and Work Institute

    Following a period of working together in a strategic relationship, NIACE and CESI merge to form Learning and Work Institute, with former NIACE Chief Executive David Hughes as CEO and former CESI CEO Dave Simmonds OBE as director.

  • 2001

    Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion (Inclusion)

    The ‘Unemployment Unit and Youthaid’ and the Centre for Social Inclusion came together to form Inclusion. This brought together their expertise and track record in providing commentary and analysis on unemployment and welfare to work services. A new Research Department was established which led to Inclusion becoming one of the leading independent research organisations evaluating employment services in the UK.

  • 1997

    Centre for Social Inclusion (CSI)

    Mike Stewart and Dave Simmonds OBE established CSI as a social enterprise to provide policy and practice support to deliver the Labour Government’s new programmes for the unemployed. CSI grew quickly, leading on the set up of Employment Zones and other initiatives.

  • 1990

    Basic Skills Agency (BSA)

    The Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit (formerly the Adult Literacy Unit and Adult Literacy Resource Agency) was a government-funded unit of NIACE, which remained in London when NIACE moved to Leicester. It became independent in 1990 as the Basic Skills Agency. In 2007, NIACE and the BSA merged together as one organisation.


  • 1989

    Unemployment Unit & Youthaid

    The Unemployment Unit merges with Youthaid – a sister charity established in 1979 to speak for and highlight the position of unemployed young people. Working together they could be more effective at providing analysis and lobbying for disadvantaged people in the labour market.

  • 1985

    NIACE Cymru

    Originally called the Wales Committee of NIACE, NIACE Cymru was established in 1985 to advise the Welsh Office, the Welsh Joint Education Committee, NIACE and Welsh providers of adult education in Wales. NIACE Cymru particularly recognises the distinctive ways in which Welsh culture and language affect adult learners in Wales.


  • 1984

    Unit for the Development of Adult Continuing Education (UDACE)

    This government-funded successor to ACACE operated between 1984 and 1992. Although it had neither the status or resources proposed for a National Development Council for Adult Continuing Education, UDACE developed a powerful reputation through its work on specific issues of policy and practice, often through the medium of expert groups. Among the topics developed were educational guidance for adults (including managing the National Educational Guidance Initiative), accreditation and Open College Networks. In 1992, UDACE was taken over by the Further Education Unit.


  • 1983

    National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE)

    NIAE changed its name in 1983 to the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. While this did not involve a change in the organisation’s structure or immediate practice, it sought to reflect more accurately an emerging remit beyond the traditional mainstream territories of university extra-mural provision; the agendas of local education authority adult and community education services and the concerns of major voluntary bodies like the WEA.

    As the 1980s progressed, NIACE started to contribute more confidently to discourses about the relationship between general education and vocational training and between economic prosperity and social inclusion. NIACE was also building membership among further education colleges and Training and Enterprise Councils, whilst retaining its traditional membership base among local authorities and universities.

  • 1981

    Unemployment Unit

    The Unemployment Unit was established by Clare Short to provide independent research and campaigning for unemployed people, at a time when unemployment was rapidly increasing. It aimed to provide information and analysis about the measurement and experience of unemployment to MPs, the media and local government. Between 1983 and 2001 David Taylor, Dan Finn and Paul Convery established the Unit’s reputation as a leading UK organisation providing independent research and intelligence on unemployment and employment services.

  • 1977

    Advisory Council for Adult Continuing Education (ACACE)

    ACACE was an independent Government-funded body based in the same premises as NIAE/NIACE between 1977 and 1983. It was chaired by Dr Richard Hoggart and four of its members also served on NIACE’s council, ensuring a close relationship while retaining individual independence.

  • 1969

    Studies in Adult Education

    The journal Studies in Adult Education, known now as Studies in the Education of Adults, was launched.

  • 1946

    National Foundation for Adult Education

    The National Foundation for Adult Education was set up in 1946, as a forum for consultation between the organisations providing adult education. In 1949 it merged with the BIAE to become the National Institute of Adult Education – an organisation with both individual and corporate members. The first Secretary of the NIAE was Edward Hutchinson – the NFAE’s founding secretary.

    At the same time, a separate Scottish Institute of Adult Education (SIAE) was set up – later SIACE – which survived until it lost Government funding in 1991.

  • 1946

    The Arts Council

    In 1935, the BIAE set up the Art for the People initiative to provide ordinary people throughout the UK with the opportunity to see great works of art.

    Many private collectors agreed to loan their paintings to the Institute, but unfortunately no catalogues survive in our archives. Art for the People led to the establishment of a Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) in 1939 with the help of the BIAE, and especially its Secretary, WE Williams. In 1946, CEMA became the Arts Council.

  • 1941

    Army Bureau of Current Affairs (ABCA)

    The Army Bureau of Current Affairs (ABCA) was set up in 1941 by the Army Education Corps under the Direction of Sir William Emrys Williams (Secretary of the BIAE). ABCA undertook a programme of general education for citizenship which is often credited with having an impact on the result of the 1945 general election.

  • 1933

    BFI (the British Film Institute)

    In 1929 the BIAE took the leading role in setting up an informal Commission on Educational and Cultural Films. This produced The Film in National Life report in 1932, which resulted in the establishment of the British Film Institute in 1933.

  • 1928

    New Ventures in Broadcasting

    In 1928 the BIAE and the BBC set up a joint Committee of Enquiry, which produced a the New Ventures in Broadcasting report. This led to the formation of a Central Council for Broadcast Adult Education, as a forum for the co-operation of established adult education organisations with the BBC.

  • 1921

    The Journal of Adult Education

    The Journal of Adult Education was launched as a half-yearly journal. It became a quarterly called Adult Education in 1934, which became Adults Learning in 1989.

  • 1921

    British Institute of Adult Education (BIAE)

    In 1921 a separate British Institute of Adult Education (BIAE) was established. Originally a branch of the WAAE it became constitutionally separate in 1925.

    The BIAE was an association of individual members, and its main aim was to be “a centre for common thought by persons of varied experience in the adult education movement.” It did not have its own premises and met in hired rooms. The address sometimes quoted – 28 St Anne’s Gate, London – was the private address of its first President, Viscount Haldane.

  • 1918

    World Association for Adult Education (WAAE)

    NIACE’s roots can be traced back to the end of the First World War when, in 1918-1919, a World Association for Adult Education (WAAE) was established in London by a group including Dr Albert Mansbridge, founder of the Workers’ Educational Association.

    Despite the grand title, the WAAE had a largely British membership with its international dimension coming primarily from the dominions of the former British Empire. It ran conferences, published the Journal of the World Association for Adult Education and set up a Central Bureau of Information (on Adult Education) in London.