The WEA’s response to Skills for Jobs White Paper

A response from Simon Parkinson

Responding to the publication of the Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth White Paper, General Secretary and Chief Executive of the WEA, Simon Parkinson said:

“Adult education is critical to economic recovery. The Government’s investment in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and the National Skills Fund is a good start. But, where is the programme which will support those with no or low qualifications who need to succeed at level 1 and 2?

“These are the qualification that will help those furthest from the job market or facing the challenge of up-skilling to gain a foothold in new sectors.

“We are disappointed that the value of local community education has not been recognised and not mentioned in the Paper. The WEA plays an important role working with those furthest from opportunity – raising confidence and aspiration. We provide an important learning ramp for many, be it into further qualifications or directly into employment.

“By focusing on higher skilled employment as the main driver of the economy, the Paper also misses the vital role of adult education in supporting people to contribute to their local economy and be active within their local communities. It also supports better physical and mental health, which reduces stress on the NHS and means we have happier citizens. These are important, not just in the short term, but for the long term prosperity of the UK.”