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EPALE - Elektronisch platform voor volwasseneneducatie in Europa


How about a Personal Learning Account, but not as you know it?

door J Christophe Wells
Taal: EN


Anja Meierkord addressing delegates at the EPALE and EAAL joint conference


Upskilling Pathways: implications for the adult learning workforce

On 23 October 2019, EPALE UK and the Learning & Work Institute (European Agenda for Adult Learning) held a joint conference in London. The event welcomed both national and international delegates from across the adult education sector and gave special focus to EAAL’s recently published report that focuses on adult learning and workforce development. A key part of workforce development going forward will involve upskilling – ensuring that workers are building and developing their skills in order to meet the needs of the economy.

The conference delivered a range of plenary, panel and workshop sessions. I was privileged to attend Dave Hagendyk’s (Director of Learning & Work Wales) workshop on Personal Learning Accounts in Wales in the morning, which allowed me to build a solid understanding of this excellent initiative that can enable workers to move their careers forward or to change them entirely.


Supporting learners to develop new skills

The Personal Learning Account initiative is built around the needs of people in work and aims to overcome the barriers that people face in accessing new training and educational programmes in order to get more fulfilling or better paid jobs. The pilots were designed to address the upskilling needs of the Welsh economy. As we face an ever-changing employment and work landscape, it is essential that learners continue to build and expand their skills sets in order to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive market.


Dave Hagendyk delivering the workshop, taken by John Field
Credit: John Field

So what is a Personal Learning Account?

A Personal Learning Account allows learners to study part-time around their existing responsibilities. It will enable them to obtain the skills and qualifications they need to switch careers and/or embark on a new pathway in the technical sectors, including Engineering, Construction and ICT.

Examples of courses on offer at Coleg Gwent, where a new pilot is underway, include, among others:


A male and female engineer discussing work


  • Scaffolding Diploma
  • Construction Site Management
  • Removal of Hazardous Waste Diploma



  • Producing Mechanical Engineering Drawings using a CAD system – 2D
  • Weld Inspection
  • Project Management Principles level 4



  • Cloud Essentials
  • Microsoft (MTA)


Learners will be able to get new skills and qualifications that appeal to local employers – this helps both the learner to be an indispensable asset to employers and the employers to obtain the highly skilled workforce they need to meet business needs and the needs of the country’s economy

All of the courses on offer through a Personal Learning Account are being funded by the Welsh Government and the pilot programme is scheduled to run for two years. On completion, the programme will be reviewed with the intention of more courses becoming available across a wider variety of sectors, therefore meeting the needs of the workforce at large.


The Welsh Assembly in Cardiff


How can learners get a Personal Learning Account?

The application process is straightforward and involves a pre-admissions interview with an experienced Careers Adviser from Working Wales who will provide each individual with the chance to discuss career aspirations and goals and ensure that the course is the right pathway for them. This offers a personal, individualised approach that allows learners to access skills provision that is best suited to them and will hold the most benefits for their future success.

The Welsh government website also contains a Support Finder tool – learners can input their qualifications and employment experiences, as well as any special circumstances that apply to them and the tool will then help to match them to the correct skills support. They can then browse different learning options and choose the ones that appeal most.

Where can learners use their Personal Learning Account?

The new initiative is being piloted by Coleg Gwent in South Wales and Grwp Llandrillo Menai in North Wales. More workers are needed in the areas of Engineering, Construction and ICT in order to meet the needs of the economy and the demand for workers in these sectors ensures there are many well-paid jobs on offer. Once the pilots are completed and any necessary adjustments have been made, more courses will be offered through the Personal Learning Account programme.

Find out what courses are on offer in South Wales by Coleg Gwent
Find out what courses are on offer in North Wales by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai


Interested? Here’s how to get more information…

You can get great advice on how to Change your story by speaking to a Working Wales Adviser. Call free on 0800 028 4844 or send an email:

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