Two national expert organisations have teamed up to work out ways to get adult learners into further or higher education.
The Milton Keynes-based Open University (OU) and the Workers Education Association (WEA) have formed a partnership to provide practical training and freely available learning resources.
People on low incomes and those who haven’t achieved a level of education traditionally required for university entry are being targeted for the help to increase skills and job prospects.
Government and other figures show adult participation in all categories of learning in the last three years has declined, an OU spokesman said. The OU/WEA partnership seeks to reverse this trend, by identifying the common problems facing adults who want to return to education and seeking to understand how potential students can be encouraged to gain the new skills and training to further their employment prospects.
WEA chief executive, Ruth Spellman, said: “In recent years we have seen an increase in social inequality and a decline in social mobility. This can only be addressed if people have access to the education services that enable them to reach their full potential.
“While it is important young people are supported, many adults find it difficult to get work despite having up to another 40 years until retirement.”
Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said: “If we’re going to get Britain’s economy back on track, we have to make sure that workers of all ages have the skills they need to compete – it’s not enough just to focus on 18-year-old school leavers.
“I’m delighted that the OU and WEA will be working together to open up higher education to an even wider range of adult learners, helping to make that vision a reality.”
The OU and WEA will promote links through their websites and plan to develop future campaigns together on widening participation and on the importance of education for the UK.