WEA Report 'Improving Lives and Communities through Learning'

A new report from the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) called “Improving Lives and Communities through Learning” highlights some great facts and figures about the transformative effect of adult education both for individuals and communities.  Over 2,000 students from across the WEA participated in the study.


Key findings included:

Cultural integration and citizenship

·       81% of learners met new people and half improved their understanding of other cultures.

·       39% of learners took part in activities to improve their local community as a result of their course

·       24% claimed the courses made them more likely to vote in next elections


Plugging the skills gap

·       Of the unemployed students 77%  felt more confident about finding a job in the future

·       Learners developed work skills including learning skills (76%), communication (68%), research (62%), critical thinking (60%) and creative skills (60%). 

·       The students that need most support benefit more e.g. those on means-tested benefits developed life skills at 18-34% higher than those not on benefits. Those on basic skills courses reported greater development of literacy and language skills, IT and numeracy.


Health and wellbeing

·       99% of students reported health & wellbeing benefits from their course e.g. making new friends (84%), increased self-confidence (77%), reduced stress (59%) and starting new hobbies/interests (66%).

·       47% were motivated to improve their health, and courses helped 46% to keep physically active.

·       These figures increased specifically for BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) students 

In addition, the report highlights an intergenerational effect of adult learning, with many parents playing a more active role in their child’s education after undertaking formal learning. Children’s outcomes are also improved, showing that adult education can break the cycle of low educational attainment in families. 

Download the report 

Read the accompanying blog from Joanna Cain, TSNLA Trustee and Deputy CEO of the WEA.