The Education Committee has today launched an inquiry examining the benefits of adult skills and lifelong learning to the individual, society and the wider economy.
The announcement was made by committee chair Robert Halfon MP this morning, in a speech at an event hosted by the Centre for Social Justice in London.
The inquiry will also explore the level of support available to leaners, and the role played by local authorities/combined authority areas in providing adult education.
The UK spends just two-thirds of the EU average on adult training, while the poorest adults with the lowest qualifications are the least likely to learn new skills. The Education Committee’s new inquiry will look into how improving adult skills can promote social justice and boost productivity across the country.
This inquiry will build on the Committee’s work on the fourth industrial revolution, which examined the readiness of the UK’s education system for the challenges and opportunities offered by upcoming developments in digital, robotics, AI, and the changing labour market.
The Committee is inviting written submissions addressing the following questions:
- What are the benefits of adult skills and lifelong learning (ASALL) for productivity and upskilling the workforce?
- What are the benefits of ASALL for social justice, health and wellbeing?
- What role can local authorities/combined authority areas play in ASALL provision?
- To what extent is the range, balance and quality of formal and informal ASALL education adequate?
- Who currently participates in and benefits from lifelong learning?
- What lessons can the UK learn from abroad?
Executive Director External Engagement at City Lit, Phil Chamberlain commented, "Here at City Lit, we believe that everyone has the right to learn and improve themselves. Adult education is vital to any society and this has been well documented – for economic and social reasons, but also individually for people’s health and wellbeing. In addition to that, we are all living and working for much longer. The skills we left school, college or university with won’t sustain us through this extended working life. Life is more stressful and can be isolated – in a digital world – an adult education has the wonderful ability to give people opportunities to find their passion and interests to relieve stress, find their creative side, and of course, come together with people from different walks of life.
City Lit’s offer is extensive, with almost 6,000 short daytime, evening and weekend courses. It has grown to reflect market demand and meet the needs of a diverse London population. Many courses are specifically targeted to either help people gain employment, to help people develop skills that will further their career and to support London businesses by providing courses that address known skills gaps."