Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: implications for workforce development

It is perhaps a truism to say the world is changing fast. But however fast or slow change occurs, adult learning needs to respond to change and, in the words of Jacques Delors, attempt to shape it.

How can leadership of thinking support this? How does the adult learning workforce need to change in order to support future generations?

In 2018, L&W and FETL started discussing these ideas with a range of practitioners across the UK’s very different adult learning systems. We were conscious that the latest research from the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and the European Commission showed that adult learning has a positive impact on all areas of our lives.

Furthermore, L&W’s report Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: the impact of adult learning across the UK recommended a number of ways adult learning strategies could be improved to maximise this impact. This was a timely report: as the devolution of education and skills funding across the UK, has prompted administrations to look at how adult learning contributes to a range of policy agendas.

A number of key thinkers from across UK further and adult education were commissioned to write short think pieces on the implications for leadership and workforce development of Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: the impact of adult learning across the UK.

During late 2018 the writers came together to discuss their work and emerging themes with colleagues from FETL and L&W. Helen Plant and Mark Ravenhall pulled together the principal themes from the discussion for section one of this report.

Section one and the nine think pieces were shared with UK forums during the Spring of 2019 and feedback was received from events in Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, and Edinburgh. We have summarised these responses in section four which includes a possible conceptual framework for future workforce development planning.

Just as adult learning is based on the concept of the learner journey—or many messy and complex journeys—the same notion should be applied to professional learning.

We have both been delighted to feed in our views at the expert seminar and UK forums, now we would be interested in your responses to this publication.

Dr Fiona Aldridge – Learning & Work Institute
Jill Westerman, CBE. – Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL)

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