Learning and retraining

Improved skills give people freedom of opportunity, providing them with the ability to adapt to a changing world, while promoting social mobility, inclusion and wellbeing. Within the context of global economic change, an ageing population, changing patterns of work, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, people can expect to work longer, requiring them to learn and retrain throughout their lives.

However, the number of adults in the UK taking up learning has fallen significantly in the last decade. As a result, the rate of improvement in the UK’s skills base has stalled, meaning we risk falling further behind other countries.

Our adult participation in learning survey also identifies stark inequalities in access, with participation lowest among adults who could benefit most, including those in lower social grades, those with fewer years of initial education, and those furthest from the labour market while older adults are significantly less likely to participate in learning.

Our research focuses on how we can reduce barriers, encourage and support people to learn and retrain throughout their lives.

  • Projects 18 05 2020

    Cities of learning

    Cities of learning is an inclusive approach that promotes and recognises learning wherever it happens. It creates  new pathways into learning and employment by connecting formal, informal, and in-work learning opportunities.
  • Research and Reports 27 02 2020

    Cost and outreach pilot evaluation: interim findings

    The pilots are testing different approaches to outreach in engaging adults in learning, and whether offering a course fee subsidy encourages take up.
  • Research and Reports 22 02 2020

    Evidence review: Improving attainment among disadvantaged students in the FE and adult learning sector

    Produced for the Social Mobility Commission this maps the evidence on what works to improve attainment and other related outcomes in FE and adult learning.
  • Research and Reports 01 12 2019

    Local Skills Deficits and Spare Capacity

    Analysis commissioned by the Local Government Association estimates that unless skills needs of employers are met there could be a potential loss of £120 billion in economic output by the end of the decade.
  • Projects 07 07 2019

    National Retraining Scheme: Cost and outreach pilot evaluation

    Learning and Work Institute worked as the Department for Education's development and evaluation partner on the pilots. The UK Government has committed to the creation of a National Retraining Scheme (NRS) to prepare workers for the future economy.
  • Research and Reports 01 07 2019

    National Retraining Scheme - Cost and outreach pilot

    Learning and Work Institute supported and evaluated a number of pilots across England, designed to test ways of encouraging adults whose jobs may be at risk due to economic change into learning.

Find out more on how devolution is affecting learning and retraining

News coverage of our adult participation in learning survey