This week the Learning & Work Institute launched its latest annual survey into adult participation in the UK.
When looking at the results we have to bear in mind still the impact of Covid19 and how it has changed working and learning contexts for so many. Some of the difference may also be due to the change in survey method, from face-to-face to online, and we know that adults most likely to take part in learning are also most likely to have digital skills and access to technology.
The good news is that overall the number of adults saying that they have taken part in some form of learning has risen to 44%. Locally the news also looks good for Northern Ireland where participation has risen to 40%, taking out off the bottom slot for the first time in many years.
Seven in ten learners said that at least some of their learning was online which not only reflects a growing trend, but also increased uptake of this methodology due to lockdowns.
As we reflect on how to build a lifelong learning culture in Northern Ireland it is interesting to note the range of motivations to learn –
Over half of learners took up learning for work-related reasons, and almost half for personal reasons, a significant increase on previous years. Interest in the subject is most cited (40 per cent) as a reason for learning, followed by developing as a person (36 per cent). Similarly, 30 per cent of people mention the enjoyment of learning as a benefit, with 22 per cent sating it improved skills for their jobs and 22 per cent increased confidence. People are learning for work, for personal benefit, for interest in the subject, and for the enjoyment of learning.
The survey also offers analyses why too many people who could benefit from learning still miss out. Almost a third said there was nothing stopping them or they simply did not want to, Beyond that 29% felt they were too old to learn, 25% referenced the cost of learning and 18% mentioned work or other time pressures.
The full report is available to download from page 2 of our Reports/Resources page.