Where next for the adult learning workforce?

To celebrate the publication of the Learning & Work Institute's Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: implications for workforce development report, EPALE are publishing the report along with weekly blog posts by key thinkers that further explore the provocations within each Thinkpiece contained in the report. Join us for a rich and meaningful discussion that aims to improve adult education strategy and policy, and better prepare the workforce for the challenges presented by a rapidly changing world. 

Workers joining hands

"Success comes through continual improvement."
Paul Donaghy, Enabling social change through adult learning: a place, people and partnership approach, Thinkpiece 5  

The Learning & Work Institute has released the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: implications for workforce development report, as part of its work for the European Agenda for Adult Learning. Although the report focuses on the UK, its findings have relevance across Europe. The report starts from the premise that countries cannot have effective adult learning strategies in place without adequately supporting the workforce that delivers them. This principle is at the heart of EPALE which supports over 50,000 practitioners across Europe.  

The report’s editors argue that as adult learning strategies increasingly take into account the findings of UNESCO’S Third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education, more will need to be done to support the workforce. These ideas were initially explored in L&W’s 2018 publication, Healthy Wealthy and Wise: the impact of adult learning across the UK. 

The new report takes a broad view of the adult education sector and presents the opinions of key thinkers, including:

Lightbulbs with one illuminated.
  • Helen Chicot
  • Dragana Ramsden
  • Colin Forrest
  • Paul Donaghy
  • Kathryn James
  • Alan Sherry
  • Helen Plant
  • Deirdre Hughes
  • Dafydd Rhys 

These contributors come from varied backgrounds within the world of adult education. Their opinions form nine thought-provoking 'thinkpieces' that were first shared at forums across the UK and encouraged responses from researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from equally varied backgrounds. The resulting material provides a holistic view of the problems faced by the workforce and the education sector, considers approaches to addressing these issues and encourages a unified response to best support adult education and workforce development. 

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise considers the situation in each individual nation, as well as taking a view of the UK as a whole. It highlights the need to maintain better communication between sectors, institutions and departments, and to establish partnerships and collaborative approaches in order to best support learners and prepare a workforce capable of withstanding a volatile and capricious jobs market.

European Commission logo.

The report, thinkpieces and blogs formed a major part of the discussion at the EPALE UK and the Learning & Work Institute's joint conference Upskilling Pathways: implications for the adult learning workforce, held in London on 23 October 2019. The conference had input from national and European agencies as well as contributors to the report. Following the conference, more blog posts were added to this thematic page, summarising the different sessions that took place and providing valuable insight into the day's events and the discussions that arose. The full collection of presentations featured at the event can also be accessed below.      

Explore below to access the report, blogs and presentations from the event. 


We welcome and encourage comments on all content found on this page!


Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: implications for workforce development report title page.
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: implications for workforce development 
( bytes - PDF)
Map of the UK with a starry night effect.
Blog 1 
Public service icons.
Blog 2
by Mark Ravenhall 
Video interview with man and woman behind camera.
Blog 3
by Vicky Duckworth & Rob Smith 
Diverse group stacking hands.
Blog 4
by Alan Sherry  
Yellow leader in a grey crowd.
Blog 5
Old lady doing an exercise class at a community centre.
Blog 6Turning on the pause button and listening by Dragana Ramsden 
Businesswoman with hero shadow.
Blog 7
by Helen Chicot 
A family learning together.
Blog 8
by Cath Harcula, EPALE UK Ambassador 
Illuminated red figure among blue figures.
Blog 9
by Colin Forrest 
Ynni Ogwen supporters .
Blog 10
by Dafydd Rhys 
Cerian Ayres delivering the workshop.
Blog 11
by Emma Zielinski, Content Manager for EPALE UK
Naomi Clayton delivers her part of the workshop.
Blog 12
by Emma Zielinski, Content Manager for EPALE UK 
Dave Hagendyk delivering the workshop.
Blog 13
by Christophe Wells, EPALE UK Ambassador 
Delegates are welcomed to the conference.
Blog 14
by Cath Harcula, EPALE UK Ambassador
Citizens' Curriculum workshop.
Blog 15
by Alexander Braddell 
World with tech icons .
Blog 16
Conference banner.
Annual Conference presentationsAccess all the plenary, panel and workshop
session presentations 
Login (6)

Login or Sign up to join the conversation.

Want another language?

This document is also available in other languages. Please select one below.
Switch Language

Want to write a blog post ?

Don't hesitate to do so! Click the link below and start posting a new article!

Latest Discussions

EPALE discussion: Transformative learning and life skills

Tell us yours about transformative learning and life skills!





What kind of job description for an adult education centre manager?

It is lonely at the top of an adult education centre. This feeling is not formulated in the job description for the position of manager of an adult education centre.
This is a call to share your job description - whatever the format is- and an invitation to share feelings about loneliness, or others, at the top of an adult education centre.