Career Learning: National Adult Education Stakeholder 

  06/11/2018 09:30   Event ID :11340

Policy Round table

Career Learning: National Adult Education Stakeholder 

By invitation only.

This event provides an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to share and develop perspectives on how the wider adult education sector can most effectively support career learning for adults.


With fundamental changes taking place in the structure of the labour market and the nature of work, the importance of helping adults to upskill and reskill throughout their working lives occupies a central place in national policy on employment and skills. It is recognised as critical for enabling the UK to address the challenges it faces in relation to low productivity, weak social mobility and lack of access to good jobs in many communities and localities. Both the Industrial Strategy and the Careers Strategy outline policies to engage more adults in learning, with a key focus on equipping those in low skilled, low wage or obsolete jobs to progress at work.

As current policy recognises, engaging adults in learning throughout their lives is not only about increasing the supply of learning opportunities, but also about building motivation to learn, demonstrating the value of learningand making participation feasible and accessible. Evidence consistently shows that adults who have the lowest levels of skills are also least likely to take part in learning of any kind and have fewest opportunities to do so in the workplace, keeping them trapped in low paid work with limited prospects for progression. Engaging these adults in learning is essential for achieving a more productive economy and fairer society, and it requires interventions which consistently tackle the range of barriers which currently inhibit their participation.

In England, the Government is investing £40m in ‘career learning’ pilots, which focus on increasing demand for skills training and learning. Increasing participation in technical education which meets the skills needs of employers in local areas is a particular focus. Learning and Work Institute is working with local partners in Leeds, Devon and Somerset, Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands to deliver a range of outreach and cost pilots which will are exploring different ways of engaging adults in learning, and testing ways of overcoming financial barriers to participation.  Meanwhile, the Flexible Learning Fund provides grants of up to £1 million to project to develop flexible delivery models that target adults in work or returning to employment. The findings from these initiatives will inform the development of a new National Retraining Scheme.


The evidence and propositions generated through the roundtable will help to inform the development of the proposed National Retraining Scheme and other initiatives designed to engage adults more effectively with the benefits and opportunities of lifelong learning.

The principal output will be a policy discussion paper summarising the issues, opportunities and evidence identified by participants, and highlighting possible actions for policymakers and other stakeholders.


This is an invitation-only event for national policymakers and organisations involved in the thematic stakeholder networks co-ordinated by Learning and Work Institute on behalf of the Department for Education. It will bring the diverse perspectives and collective expertise of group members to bear on the question of how adult education can contribute to more effective policy and practice on career learning for adults.

Draft programme

Policy Round table: Career Learning: National Adult Education Stakeholder 

Tuesday 6 November 2018

09:30 Arrival and refreshments



Welcome introduction

Chair: Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director for Policy and Research and Development, Learning and Work Institute

10:10 Plenary 1: Career learning and National Retraining Scheme (DfE)
10:30 Plenary 2: Outreach, participation and decision making for adult learners (Learning and Work Institute)
10:50 Plenary 3: Career learning in practice
11:15 Thematic workshops (with refreshments in rooms)
13:00 Plenary 4: Feedback from workshops
13:20 Chair’s closing comments and next steps
13:30 Networking lunch
14:00 Close