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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe


National Support Services - United Kingdom

Ecorys UK

Albert House, 
Quay Place,
92-93 Edward Street,
B1 2RA,

0121 212 8930
  • The organisation
  • Work programme
  • The team
  • Adult Learning in the country
  • National Stakeholders
  • Ambassadors

Ecorys is an employee-owned company that has worked almost exclusively for the public and third sectors for over 80 years. Our mission is to add value to public service delivery through our experience of the entire policy cycle, covering programme delivery, policy advice and research. Our specialism is in EU policy, in particular education and training, and we have undertaken a range of research and programme management assignments in the field of lifelong learning for the European Commission and its agencies, as well as for UK stakeholders.

Ecorys currently manages, in a consortium with the British Council, the Erasmus+ UK National Agency (NA). Prior to that (2007 - 2013), Ecorys was the National Agency for the Grundtvig, Leonardo and Transversal programmes within the EU Lifelong Learning Programme in the UK. We therefore have a long-standing interest and experience in the field of adult learning.

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The UK EPALE National Support Service (NSS) priorities for 2019/20 have been developed to extend our work and progress to date. They are based on helping to improve the impact of adult learning for individuals, adult education professionals and policy makers. We will:

  • widen the participation on EPALE of professionals in the field of adult learning, including those involved in supporting unemployed adults.
  • contribute high quality content identified from across the UK, created with and by adult learning professionals to ensure that we reflect both national priorities and EU priorities.
  • provide content for EPALE that is dynamic, interactive and innovative.
  • support the animation of the platform and the online EPALE community.
  • support the multilingual nature of EPALE.

We aim to reach all types of professionals and volunteers working in the field of adult learning and in the support of unemployed adults in the UK (including teachers, trainers, policy makers, academics, employers and volunteers). 

Main activities include:
  • the promotion of EPALE to a wide range of adult learning professionals through a communication strategy, which uses sector events and multipliers such as UK EPALE Reference Groups and Ambassadors.
  • increasing cooperation with the four UK nations by increasing the UK user voice on EPALE and collaborating with other National Support Services and stakeholder organisations.
  • identifying and generating a range of high-quality UK content in line with EU and national priorities, incorporating the EPALE themes and subthemes.
  • collaborative working with the Erasmus+ UK National Agency & the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL).
  • supporting the animation and development of an online EPALE community through the active engagement of UK users.
  • supporting the EPALE Central Support Service (CSS) with the development of the ePlatform and multilingualism.
Main outputs, results and/or products:
  • Number of participants at UK EPALE events.
  • Number of UK-based adult learning professionals registered on EPALE.
  • Supported and engaged EPALE Ambassador network.
  • Amount of unique content generated for publication on EPALE.
  • Amount of animation and engagement with the interactive sections of EPALE.
  • Positive collaborations with the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning and other NSSs.
Thematic Calendar 2019

EPALE hosts a number of pan-European themed months, bringing together adult education professionals to discuss topics of interest, as well as providing a space to share case studies, blog posts, news articles, resources and events. We will issue and promote a ‘Call for Content’ each month, as well as provide updates in our newsletter and on our social media channels to encourage the submission of content from users in the UK. We will also host a number of thematic focus weeks which will be announced through our newsletter and social media channels.

Look at the Thematic Calendar 2019 (attached above) and see if you have information to share on these themes in adult education!

If you'd like any support to submit content, please see our 'How-to Guide: Uploading Content' in our support materials below, our 'top tips' writing documents and our interactive user tour and content submission webinar. If you have any queries, please contact us for more information.

EPALE UK Star Supporter Competition

EPALE UK held three Star Supporter Competitions in 2019, with the aim of driving further engagement with high quality content. The third and final Star Supporter Competition of 2019 required the submission of mini blog post entries that focused on the positive impact adult learning has in the workplace. 

See our previous Star Supporter Photo Competition here to view the entries and see the summary of entries here. We received images accompanied by a short caption describing how an impact on adult learning is demonstrated in the image. 

Have a look at our previous Star Supporter Competition here, which involved the submission of blog posts on the theme of Health, Wellness and Adult Learning and see our summary of entries and comments.

EPALE UK support materials 

EPALE Animation

Corrina Hickman is our Team Leader. She is responsible for the day to day management and co-ordination of the work of the EPALE UK NSS. She also ensures synergies with the work of Erasmus+, the National Co-ordinator for the Agenda for Adult Learning (Learning and Work Institute) and other key stakeholders and multipliers. You will find her at policy level events within the sector.

Rufna Hussain, Sara Rauste and Colin Neilands are our Stakeholder Engagement Leads. They work directly with adult learning professionals and stakeholders, understanding their needs, identifying content and promoting EPALE on the ground. Colin works solely in Northern Ireland. You will find them out and about at meetings, events and workshops.

Claudia Kennedy, our Community Manager supported by Digital Communications Assistant Jack Whitfield, manages a range of targeted marketing activities to raise awareness and promote EPALE in the UK, generating online discussions around a range of topics and themes. She is also responsible for our social media channels – follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and find us on LinkedIn. 

Emma Zielinski is our Content Manager. She is responsible for identifying and collating high-quality content and adding it to the platform. She also provides editorial support for UK users writing content for the platform and performs quality checks on user uploads for publication. 

Janett Scully is our Support Assistant. Her role includes managing the helpline and supporting users to help them get the most out of the platform.

You can contact any member of the team on 0121 212 8905 or at

Adult learning in the UK is part of the Further Education sector and is not delivered as a separate strand. Adult learning in the UK varies between the four devolved nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each has a central government in charge of the education systems, although delivery of adult learning is fairly decentralised across colleges, local authorities, voluntary and private providers. Adult learning in the UK includes community learning, a term used for a broad range of learning, usually unaccredited, for adults aged 19 and over.

Adult learning is seen as one of the routes to achieving social inclusion and boosting economic competitiveness.

The below list of stakeholders is in no way exhaustive but gives a broad range of examples of organisations in the adult learning sector in the UK.

Adult Learning Networks:
Networks & Partnerships:
Policy makers:
Provider representatives/ Associations:
Professional and Workforce Development Agencies:
Think Tanks:
Voluntary sector:


EPALE UK Reference Group

The EPALE UK Reference Group includes members from the adult learning community in each of the four devolved administrations in the UK. Members cover a range of sectors, including further and higher education, employers/employer representatives, voluntary (civil/NGO) and local authority sectors. The group ensures that the platform reflects the priorities of all key stakeholders who work in adult learning across the UK.


EPALE UK Ambassadors - see our Ambassadors tab for more details


EPALE UK Ambassadors 


The UK NSS has an established network of Ambassadors who provide support in promoting EPALE acrosss the adult learning sector in the UK. Ambassadors can be contacted directly through EPALE by using the online contact forms embedded within individual user profiles. 





Dr Brian Caul, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, CRAICNI

27 years of Brian's career were spent in higher education, as an academic and then Director of Student Services. He has been a Board Chair of F&HE Colleges and the RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss), for whom he still acts as a volunteer and an elected Trustee. Since November 2015, he has been Chair of the Board of Directors of CRAICNI, a vibrant training organization, the aims of which are summed up in its acronym - cultivate respect, appreciate inclusion on communities in Northern Ireland. It's unique feature is that the trainers and facilitators are all from minority ethnic backgrounds.

His main personal interest is music. Recently he completed a music degree, is editor of a classical music magazine, and presents a programme on Causeway Hospital Radio. Aged 75, he is married with two daughters and three granddaughters and lives near the beautiful north coast of Northern Ireland.

Find out more about Brian’s CAST4Innovation project and join his community of practice group ‘Music and cultural awareness’. Click here to view Brian's EPALE user profile.




Cath Harcula, Chair of the National Family Learning Forum in England

In August 2017, after 10 years, Cath retired from her full-time position as Head of Adult Learning at Derby City Council. She has been involved in adult learning for over 30 years as a tutor, manager and senior manager. She maintains her connection with adult learning as chair for the National Family Learning Forum and being an Ambassador for EPALE UK.

Cath is interested in a wide range of topics associated with adult learning, particularly family and community learning. Read Cath’s blog on “Collecting impact evidence in Family Learning”!

Click here to view Cath's EPALE user profile.



A photo of EPALE UK Ambassador Steph Taylor.

Stephanie Taylor, Freelance Tutor and Educationalist

Steph is a freelance further education tutor with over 20 years of experience teaching in further education, offender learning, training providers and secondary schools. She uses creative and inspirational teaching and learning techniques to engage learning in a variety of settings, and has found that using creativity to enhance learning has proven to be most successful.

She is passionate about the benefits of lifelong learning to help students develop the skills and self-assurance they need to improve their confidence, develop their learning and employability skills.

Read Steph’s blog “Pride in Professionalism - the Education and Training Foundation's first SET Annual Conference” for an overview of the event. Click here to view Steph's EPALE user profile.




Jasmine Miller, Managing Director, Jasmine Miller Coaching

Jasmine has over 20 years’ experience working in Education as a Teacher, Head Teacher, Principal and School Improvement Partner. Originally from New Zealand and now based in the United Kingdom, she works nationally and internationally introducing Coaching techniques and thinking styles to mobilise individuals and teams towards their goals. Jasmine is passionate about the impact of learning, self-awareness and relationships on life experience. Through Coaching, she leads individuals and teams through transformational learning journeys – creating thinking environments, growing leaders and improving outcomes.

She is also passionate about inclusive learning opportunities. Jasmine is an ambassador for the Communication Trust and an Enterprise mentor with the Princes Trust. I have recently become a coach for Coaching for Educators




Christophe Wells, Lecturer, Consultant, Manager of European Programmes, & Erasmus+ Expert

Christophe worked as a University Lecturer in the UK for many years before moving to Picardy, France to take charge of the International Mobility Programmes for the Picardy Regional Government. During this time, he designed and managed Commenius, Leonardo, Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus & Interreg projects in the 2 Seas Programme and the England-France Channel Programme. He was then appointed Director of Development and European Programmes in a Graduate Business School (Grande École) called Groupe Sup. de Co. and then France Business School in Amiens.

In late 2014, Christophe started working as Financial & European Projects Manager with European Placement Network in Bristol, where he submitted and managed four KA202 Strategic Partnerships in the UK in the VET & Adult Education sectors.

Christophe also does some work as a visiting lecturer in International Management in Universities in the UK and in several European countries in addition to work as a consultant in International Mobility & European Programmes. He has been involved in the evaluation of European projects since 2007 and is currently an Erasmus+ Expert with the French & Luxembourg Agencies. He also plays an active role in E.U. working groups for EU Tools such as Europass & ECVET.

Click here to view Christophe's EPALE user profile.



Bob Harrison - Chair of Governors Northern College

Bob Harrison has spent over forty years as a teacher lecturer, Principal and Governor in schools and colleges. He is a trustee of the UfI trust and a judge for the BETT awards, Learning Remained awards and the E-Assessment awards. He was education adviser for Toshiba Information Systems Northern Europe for 16 years and is Chair of Governors at Northern College and an EPALE Ambassador. He is a visiting assessor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. The UfI trust has grants available from £50-£300k to support the innovative use of technology in further, vocational and adult education for details see 

Bob recently hosting the Post 16 Theatre at Betts Show 2019 – read his blog about the event here.  Click here to view Bob's EPALE user profile.




Justin Coleman, Co-Founder and Secretariat of the Alliance of Sport

Justin oversees daily operations and is responsible for the design, development and delivery of best practice, collaboration and support for the Alliance of Sport Network of over 400 active organisations, networks and individuals. Having now gathered over 20 years experience in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) & Sport for Development (SfD) Justin has worked in 15 custodial establishments (Children to Adult, both Male and Female) and every part of the CJS. Justin is currently involved in an initiative in a Custodial based Sports Academy and Peer Sports Mentoring model, which has resulted in increased Physical Health, Education Attainment, Social Connectedness and reduced discourse across an adult prison.

Justin has received ‘Best Practice’ from HM Inspectors for work with Long Term Persons in custody, awarded Prison Officer of the Year 2009 (Working with Young People) and a Major Butler Trust Award amongst many other achievements.

Read his blog “Sport for Development and Criminal Justice Sector-Wide Theory of Change” to find out more.




Alison McLachlan, Freelance adult learning consultant, Associate with Learning Link Scotland

Alison works in Community Education (Moray House and Edinburgh University) and prior to working as a freelance consultant, she worked for WEA for 16 years, developing and delivering adult engagement courses. She has extensive experience in the education sector as a tutor at Glasgow University in DACE (department of adult and continuing education) and as an SQA internal verifier. Alison is currently involved in a number of projects, primarily in promoting STEM and environmental topics. She works in partnership with a wide range of practitioners to develop flexible, learner-centred resources/courses that help demystify scientific/environmental language, explore local and global connections and build on peoples existing knowledge and confidence to make informed choices about future learning/career options, community activism and reducing environmental impact.

You can read about one of Alison’s projects in her blog “STEM Learning resources for Adult Community Learning and Development” and join her community of practice group ‘Environment and STEM Learning’.




Nalita James, Associate Professor in Education, University of Leicester

Nalita is passionate about access to higher education. Her research interests include access issues and experiences of adult students in community adult education, further and higher education, social inclusion and lifelong learning, student and academic identities, and communities of practice. She is published widely in this area. Nalita is chair of the Standing Conference for University Teachers and Researchers in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA) and is also a member of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) English Executive Committee. She also works with the Leicester Adult Education College and advises on Curriculum Development and Quality.                      





A photo of EPALE UK Ambassador Ian Pegg
Ian Pegg, Director and Strategic Advisor, Skills and Education Consultancy

Ian has over 25 years’ experience in the public sector, working in the Vocational Education and Training and Adult learning field both in the UK and Internationally. Ian works with Governments, Education Establishments and private sector organisations to advise on and implement high level strategies, policies, programmes and projects that enhance the delivery of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning, delivering outcomes that support Businesses to raise the skills levels of their workforce and enhance the learners journey.

Click here to view Ian's EPALE user profile.



A photo of EPALE UK Ambassador Jo Fletcher-Saxon


Jo Fletcher-Saxon, Assistant Principal for Adult and Higher Education, Ashton Sixth Form College (Adult and HE)

Click here to view Jo's EPALE user profile.









Adrian Gheroghe, Senior Project Manager, ACT FOR GRANTS C.I.

Adrian has worked for more than 10 years as an international freelancer, senior project manager and consultant in EU funds. He started in 2005 working as a consultant in EU funds, helping business to develop by accessing local end European grants. In 2012 was working also internationally, managing overseas projects in the educational field, writing bids and helping international organizations to develop, by using EU funding. He has a masters degree in project management for European Union funds, and has worked as a project manager and consultant on more than 50 projects. Now he is working as an EU Ambassador at Eurodesk UK and EPALE UK. He is a multi linguist, proficient in English and Romanian languages and understanding Italian, Spanish and French well. He has realised, won and successfully implemented more than 30 projects in the private sector and non-governmental in various fields. He is a trainer with international training experience from across the statutory and non-statutory youth work sector.

Click here to view Adrian's EPALE user profile.



Abdul Qadir, Senior European Development Manager, Praxis Europe

Abdul has worked in developing training programmes that support both vocational and adult learners develop their learning and skills that can support their personal and professional development. The learning programmes developed tend to include the use of hooks around the arts, crafts, culture, media and music. These programmes engage and help the learner advance in at their own pace. Adbul has also worked as an external consultant developing a variety of EU projects, undertaken project evaluations across the EU and managed large scale partnerships that explored the impact of disadvantage on learning and work.

Click here to view Abdul's EPALE user profile.





Eileen Kirk, eLearning Programme Development Manager, Derbyshire County Council 

Eileen has worked for Derbyshire County Council Adult Community Education Service since 1998 in a varity of roles and is currently the Service eLearning Programme Development Manger with a responsibility for developing Digital Skills for staff and learners. Eileen has managed an array of Learning Technology projects from the ETF, NIACE, LSIS and BECTA as well as an EU ERASMUS project to develop gaming software to create Branching Story games to develop online customer service training for the Banking and Insurance sector.

Click here to view Eileen's EPALE user profile. 



Karen Fisher, Learning and Development Manager, UNISON Wales

 Karen Fisher is a Learning & Development Manager at one of UNISON's (the public service union) lifelong learning projects. The Connecting Learners project is funfed by the Welsh Government's Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) with the aim of  widening participation in learning - targeting the hard to reach learner. She has worked with the WULF fund since 2007 and covers the geographical areas of South West and Central Wales. 

 Her background is in the NHS health informatics, until re-training-completing the PGCE teaching qualification in 2009. Taking into consideration her "late return" to unversity, she has experienced many of the barriers encounted by the non-  traditional,  hard to reach learner. Karen is a current Master's student at the University of Wales: Trinity St David's - further exploring the theories around learning and development. She is a qualified ICF Coach and has a particular interest in the  subjects of Leadership and Change Management. Karen also delivers many of the project's "soft skills" workshops. 

Click here to view Karen's EPALE user profile.




Owen Phillips, Digital Coordinator, Carmarthenshire County Council

 Owen is a Business and education professional, with in-depth experience of managing departments and developing projects within FE, HE, Local Authority and Community Sectors. Owen's skills include Project management, learning programme  development, marketing, and external liaison, working collaboratively with organisations and individuals to engage, involve and achieve positive, effective long term outcomes.

 Currently working as Digital Coordinator for Carmarthenshire County Council, previous roles have included Enterprise Skills and Development officer, Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor and eLearning Manager. Owen was Awarded  Carmarthenshire  Adult Tutor of the Year in IT & Digital Media, won the Fforewn award for using ILT to improve organisational practices and the Beacon Award in Staff Training.

Owen was selected for the Lectures Interational Development Programme (LIPD) Pilot, evaluating Apprenticeship programmes (Stuttgart, Germany) and Transversal project evaluating ELearning and ICT (Austria), and has trained over  7,500 learners from all age groups and levels, from entry level / basic skills to MBA level. 




Pauline Blake-Johnson, ESOL Coordinator, SRUC 

Pauline Blake-Johnston is the ESOL Co-ordinator for SRUC, based in Cupar, Fife. Her remit is wide; everyday English, Young Learners, EAP, Exam English and everything in between. She only been teaching English Language since 2007, but is hugely passionate about her career change with particular interests in working with young learners, learner engagement and learner centered tuition. She is the currently the Chair of the NATECLA Scotland Branch, sits on the IATEFL ESOL Special Interest group as well and being involved in the Scottish ESOL Strategy Implementation Group. Pauline has just completed an MA in TESOL with Lancaster University and just set up her institution’s first ESOL Volunteering programme, so has ventured into Teacher Training as well. She  is vey much looking forward to widening her contacts through the EPALE Project.

Click here to view Pauline's EPALE user profile. 




Suki Coe, Family Learning Manager, London Connected Learning Centre

Suki Coe has a background as an early years practitioner in schools. She has worked in the field of family learning and parental engagement since 1996. Suki manages the CLC’s family learning team, coordinates all the CLC family programmes and leads on safeguarding for the CLC. Suki’s specialisms include e-safety for parents and supporting schools in engaging with families and the wider community. Suki previously worked as a professional photographer.

Click here to view Suki's EPALE user profile.