Ruth Spellman’s support to HOLEX’s ‘Who will speak up for Adult Education’

As part of HOLEX’s work on raising the profile of adult education Sue Pember produced a think piece last week for the Further Education Trust for Leadership blog which can be read here.

This is a really valuable article for the adult education sector and I would add that this message is one both for government and for the education sector 

It's not healthy that the overwhelming focus of our delivery and our funding is on the 19 year olds and younger when 80% of the workforce in 2020 is already at work. 

The skills and economic requirements of our economy require a flexible, lifelong approach. In addition, both demographic change, technological developments and Brexit mean we will need to replenish and renew our own skills base making Britain one of the top destinations in the world for new investment.

This is the stated aim of the government and we need sustained funding to deliver it.

Those who think adult education will look after itself are simply wrong.

There has been a sharp decline in adult participation since 2010 in both further and higher education.

Colleagues working in the field see the impact this is having every day and many of them, like the WEA, campaigned actively to stave off further cuts in 2015/16 and again, in 16/17.

But what we really need is a sustained national programme of reinvestment in adult education realising potential, and delivering hope, and opportunity in every community. 

Ruth Spellman
Chief Executive and General Secretary