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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Where next for the adult learning workforce?

Language: EN
Document available also in: RO

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.


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Print copies of the report will be available at an invitation-only conference Upskilling Pathways: implications for the adult learning workforce, to be held in London on 23 October 2019. If you would like to be considered for an invitation to this event please contact the report's co-editor, Mark Ravenhall via The conference will have inputs from international and European agencies as well as contributors to the report.

Following the publication of the report on EPALE, thinkpiece authors will be contributing blog posts that further explore the provocations of each thinkpiece. The report and weekly blog posts will form an important part of our annual conference in October, providing the opportunity for delegates to voice their own opinions and contribute to a rich and meaningful discussion.

Explore below to access the report and blogs. Blogs will be published on a weekly basis. 


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 




Map of the UK with a starry night effect
Blog 1 


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Blog 2
by Mark Ravenhall 


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Blog 3
by Vicky Duckworth & Rob Smith 
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