In a policy briefing made in January 2016 the University and College Union in the UK noted that “A 2012 report using HM Treasury Green book methodology estimated that [the benefits of ACE] were worth up to £1,160 to an adult engaged in part time learning. A recent research paper from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also showed that learning below level 2 returned £10 to the economy for every £1 of government investment.

“For a variety of reasons, though, many people lack the confidence or motivation to get involved in learning. Some adults have had a poor experience of education in the past; others may face cultural or practical barriers to engaging with formal education. Some simply feel that they are ‘too old to learn’”.

The recent cuts to funding are then described and a list of key concerns is provided. The top three are:

  • Reduction in learning opportunities: providers are being forced to take difficult decisions about what courses they can continue to fund- course closures will reduce access.
  • Drop in learner numbers: 1.3 million learners have already been lost from further education since 2010, and more adults will miss out on opportunities if adult and community learning is further diminished.
  • Cutting off pathways to higher learning: community learning acts as a springboard into further learning for many adults who might otherwise not be confident to take on a formal qualification.

Click here to read the policy briefing.