Report warns most vulnerable are least likely to access training

People who most need access to training and learning are the ones least likely to access it, says a report released today.

The Adult Education Survey from the Office for National Statistics reveals that older people, those from the poorest backgrounds, the unemployed and those with fewest qualifications are less likely to engage in training than their younger, wealthier, employed and better-educated contemporaries.

The report found that almost two-thirds (63%) of people who engaged in learning said it enhanced their job prospects, while half (47%) said it improved their personal skills and around a quarter said it boosted their pay. The most common motivation was to “learn something new”, cited by just under three-quarters (72%) of respondents.

The UCU said the report demonstrated the benefits of training and learning and that it was vital that opportunities were open to all. A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed that funding for adult education has been cut by 45% since 2009-10.

UCU head of policy Matt Waddup said: “This report captures the benefits of training and learning, but exposes how the people who might most benefit are being failed by the current system. Training delivers benefits at work and in people’s personal life, yet opportunities are restricted for the most vulnerable in our society.

“We have seen huge cuts to adult education at a time when the further education sector should be at the centre of our planning for the future. The government needs to urgently invest in adult education with targeted support to ensure that everyone who can benefit can access training.”.

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