OU and AoC call for investment in adult learning

The Open University and the Association of Colleges have responded to the Industrial Strategy Green Paper by calling for a national skills strategy with long term investment and reform in adult education to address the country’s skills crisis. They say they want to work with the Government to shape adult learning across Further and Higher Education, and that speed, scale, partnerships and investment are key to achieving the home grown talent that the UK needs in the run up to Brexit. This needs a new culture of lifelong learning for the benefit of employers, individuals and the economy.

The organisations say that change in adult learning needs to incorporate four key considerations:

1.       Speed – the need to skill and re-skill people right now.

2.       Scale – an ambitious strategy in terms of the numbers of people it reaches, flexibility in the variety of learning approaches used, and the inclusion of workplace, digital and online learning

3.       Partnerships – the need to build on existing partnerships as well as establish new ones

4.       Investment – more investment is needed in skills from the Government, individuals and employers.


The OU and AoC also identified key elements to help Government encourage lifelong learning:

·       An all ages education and careers information, advice and guidance (IAG) service

·       Clear progression pathways for adults which help people build careers through enhanced skills

·       A national credit rating and transfer service for recognition of prior education

·       Personalised learning accounts -‘Help to Learn ISAs’ for approved learning or training

·       Guaranteed total Apprenticeship spending, particularly with more funds available for smaller employers, who are outside the scope of the levy, including funds to support quality and access.