Life and Society

Community learning

In the UK around 1 in 6 adults still struggle with reading and writing, around 1 in 4 adults still find maths difficult. Currently 90% of jobs need at least basic computer skills, but international research shows that around half of adults in England and Northern Ireland lack the basic skills to effectively use computers.

Life Skills - English, maths (NIACE England site), financial, ESOL, digital (NIACE England site) and other related skills - underpin lifelong learning, enable adults to participate and contribute fully in society, and support economic growth. We are committed to widening access to these skills, particularly amongst those under-represented groups in society, as well as improving the range and quality of provision available to all adults. Our policy is that these skills are interrelated, and are made more accessible by being contextualised and developed as an integrated curriculum offer or framework.

Our work demonstrates that a learning society supports better opportunities for people to be part of their communities and engage in the democratic processes, and influences policy to deliver this. We're working towards better integrated understanding and support across learning, employment and other services such as health, finance and housing, to support more people into learning. We do this through research and development work grouped in two flagship programmes: