WEA Nov 2017 impact report


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A note from our WEA Chair - Trevor Phillips

The great 18th century poet and satirist Alexander Pope didn’t get much wrong, but when he wrote that “a little learning is a dangerous thing”, he evidently had never had the chance to observe the thousands of educators, volunteers and students in the adult learning sector in action.

For many tens of thousands of people, adult learning today is proving to be a lifeboat to a better future, in a contemporary sea tossed by waves of demographic change, technological revolution, and political instability. For those who experience the more than two million hours of education organised by the WEA, this opportunity is frequently nothing less than transformative.

This report highlights the positive impact adult education and lifelong learning can have, not only on the employability and skills development of our students, but on their health, wellbeing and social cohesion.

Consider that over half of students who were unemployed and looking for work became employed after taking a WEA course. Or that 61% of parents with no qualifications gained confidence in helping their children with schoolwork after studying. And that 82% of students with mental health issues reported improvements in their condition after studying with us. Within these numbers lie countless stories of lives transformed for the better.

These are compelling statistics. The fact that so many benefit from our work is a tribute to our staff, students and volunteers; they make every penny that we spend count. Our aim is to make a difference every day, with everyone who comes into contact with us.

The need for community learning is more important now than it ever has been since the WEA began its work in 1903. The findings in this report provide vital evidence of the way that lifelong and community learning can work for people across the country.

We hope you find the report of interest. We believe that it provides incontrovertible evidence that adult education and lifelong learning can be and must be part of the answer to our society’s current challenges


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