Leeds set to host a 'festival of learning' as adult education is cited as key to country's COVID recovery

Adult education has been cited as one of the main keys to unlocking post-pandemic recovery of the economy and Leeds is leading the way with a 'festival of learning'.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:45 am

Partners from across the Leeds City Region will be hosting a series of free and short courses as part of the Festival of Learning this month where adults will be encouraged to develop skills, enhance their employability and improve wellbeing through a range of taster sessions, residential days, virtual seminars and open days.

Festival of Learning activities will kickstart today (Wednesday) with an Introduction to Digital Photography and Editing two-day residential course at Northern College. Another event includes ‘An Introduction to Student Finance’ webinar from the Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds, also taking place today.

The Festival of Learning was previously known as Adult Learner's Week which means the event is now in its 29th year. One of its main aims is to get adults back into education, which has even more relevance now following changes brought about by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Adult learning will be celebrated during a programme of events in Leeds this month.

Ann-Marie Spry, vice principal of Adults at Luminate Education Group which is leading the promotion of adult education, said: “Adult education is central to the rebuilding of our economy in a post-Covid environment. Therefore, we are working with key stakeholders in the area to demonstrate how lifelong learning can better equip learners to adapt to unexpected change and enhance their skills, in order to suit the ever-changing job market.

“This partnership brings together experts across the region to identify how we can work together to achieve shared objectives to raise the profile of this vital agenda. Drawing expertise and insight from our partners helps us to understand the current climate, allowing us to overcome barriers to learning and champion adult education.”

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Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education at Leeds City Council, said: “Over recent years, although Leeds has continued to prioritise adult education, we’ve seen it become less of a priority across the country. A lack of confidence amongst adult learners due to the pandemic, paired with historic funding cuts and reduced support, has resulted in the lowest adult participation in a decade. This partnership aims to celebrate the important role learning can play in adult lives and encourage them back into education.

The adult learning sessions will be delivered in a variety of ways.

“Skills are very high on the agenda for business recovery and growth post-pandemic. The partnership reflects that adult learning is available at all levels and stages of life; whether that’s starting from scratch with a new skill, brushing up and updating knowledge or taking it to an advanced level.”