Adult learning strategy 2022 to 2027

The Adult Learning Strategy sets out our actions to improve life chances for adult learners across Scotland. It outlines how we will ensure that there are accessible opportunities for adults to learn throughout their lives.

Creating Positive Pathways and Removing Barriers

Creating Positive Pathways

This strategy has been developed by listening to adult learners and those who are committed to working with them to create positive pathways. The lifelong learning journey of adult learners is not linear. Learning is revisited throughout adults' lives. The pathways that adult learners need change to reflect their personal, family and work circumstances and the communities in which they live.

Community-based adult learners told us that they wanted to progress in their learning by gaining accreditation and to improve their work life and employability. We want to support this and create more opportunities for Scotland's adults with few or no qualifications. These enhanced opportunities will give community-based adult learners more chances to access and progress into employment and contribute towards economic growth and recovery.

The adoption of online learning since the beginning of the pandemic has highlighted the need for more options and choice for community-based adult learners. Throughout the development of this strategy we have been told that community-based adult learners have experienced disproportionate impact to their learning in comparison with other adult learners due to community venues being unable to resume face-to-face learning at the same pace as mainstream education providers. We want community-based adult learners to have more digital learning opportunities and to build resilience in community-based adult learning practice.

We will increase access to and support for accredited learning underpinned by the SCQF, where appropriate, for community-based adult learning to support positive pathways for adult learners.

We will increase availability of, access to, and support for, online learning options for adult learners.

Removing Barriers

There are a number of barriers that adult learners face throughout their lifelong learning journeys. Difficulties in accessing learning are often made more challenging for those living in poverty or experiencing exclusion. Scotland's communities have been hugely impacted by Covid-19 and, within disadvantaged communities, the impact is being felt disproportionately.

Adult learners are often balancing work and care responsibilities with their learning and a lack of viable childcare options is a significant barrier. Geographical differences in community-based adult learning provision and a lack of provision in some areas can be a barrier to adult learners accessing the learning that they need.

Some of the other barriers we heard were:

  • Transport costs
  • Health
  • Past experiences of learning discouraging further learning
  • Confidence
  • Digital poverty and poor connectivity to participate online
  • Food poverty
  • Language

For community-based adult learners who require additional support to access and engage in learning activities there is a lack of clarity about their rights and entitlements to additional support arrangements and equipment when compared to the experiences of adult learners in colleges and universities.

We want to build on The Adult Learning Statement of Ambition's principle that everyone in Scotland has the right to access learning to meet their educational needs and aspirations. We also want to address the systemic inequalities that have been made worse by the pandemic.

We will do this by working alongside community-based adult learners to remove barriers to learning and to promote inclusion and equality.

We want to ensure that learning and support can be accessed by those who need it most and for community-based adult learners to be at the centre of planning for accessible learning provision.

We will collaborate with adult learners and equality groups to explore, define and remove barriers to learning.

We will ensure consistent and appropriate use of Impact Assessments to plan accessible provision which reduces the persistent inequalities experienced by people with protected characteristics.

The Working with Scotland's Communities 2018 report highlighted that challenges exist in removing barriers and furthering diversity in the CLD workforce. We want adult learners to have access to and be supported by a diverse workforce who reflect their life experiences.

We will collaborate to improve diversity and remove barriers in the workforce.



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