Local learning: Place-based insight on what works to drive up essential skills participation


Participation in adult essential skills learning has fallen significantly over the past decade across the UK. In our previous report with the Skills for Life Alliance, we explored the social, economic and health benefits of having a solid foundation in essential skills.

For the Alliance’s latest report, Learning and Work Institute has investigated innovative, place-based interventions in three Mayoral Combined Authority areas where the number of people learning essential skills has declined the most (West of England, South Yorkshire and Liverpool City Region). Here, we have looked at what works at a local level to engage people in learning essential skills.

This research highlights several policy areas where urgent action is needed:

  1. Improving essential skills should be a national and local priority, with a sustained effort to engage adults and employers and ambition to increase participation and achievement to at least 2010 levels.
  2. A flexible approach to English, maths and ESOL provision can help increase participation.
  3. It’s vital to tailor messaging and course content around adult’s needs and interests.

Other recommendations look at reaching adults who lack confidence or who face other barriers around access and time; and forging better partnerships working with employers, providers and community organisations to embed learning.




Delivering multiply

For more information on how we’re supporting local areas to address essential skills needs, please see our offer for Local Government here