The WEA organises its education provision and seeks to identify its impact in four key themes. They are Culture, Health and Wellbeing, Community Engagement and Employability. The themes are equally important and represent some of the fundamental needs of people living in Britain’s diverse communities. Each theme provides a context in which the WEA offers its wide and varied curriculum. In practice each WEA course will use one theme as its primary context but may refer to the other themes where contexts overlap. Over time the WEA will link all of its subjects to each of the themes so that students can explore each subject through the particular perspective of each theme drawing out new insights, ideas and meaning in their subject area.
All WEA provision encourages students to develop independent research and critical thinking skills, an understanding of the wider world through the broader contexts of the subject being studied and to become involved in relevant activities outside the classroom that embed and extend their learning.
Using the WEA culture theme broadens horizons through understanding cultures, identities and environments embodying our commitment to social purpose.
We know that learning about culture can cause life-changing personal development, which teaches us to engage with ideas critically and independently. Through such learning, students develop the skills, understanding and resilience to deal with change and help shape the future.
Health & Wellbeing
Using the WEA health & wellbeing theme promotes a social and preventative model of health and well-being and helps students to identify and challenge health inequalities.
Health courses can often enable students to become more socially connected while physical activity programmes can significantly improve the fitness and life chances of adults vulnerable to conditions such as diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease. As a result, the WEA helps reduce demands on medical services and supports people in taking an active part in society.
Using the WEA community engagement theme helps students to combat social exclusion and promotes active citizenship.
Working with socially and economically disadvantaged adults along with members of marginalised communities, the WEA runs courses to help students appreciate political and social issues. Our active citizenship programmes encourage greater participation in democratic decision-making while our community volunteering courses empower students to take a stronger role in civil society.
Using the WEA employability theme develops confidence, understanding and skills to help adults, at all stages of their lives, appreciate the changing nature of the world of work and where appropriate participate more fully in work life.
We believe that high quality and fair employment is the best way to combat poverty and inequality while encouraging social mobility. Our role is to help the most disadvantaged adults, particularly those who are unemployed, are in low-paid positions or have precarious employment to develop the skills and knowledge to improve their job prospects.