Hundreds Of Free Courses On Offer Across Wales As Cost Of Living Remains Biggest Barrier To Learning

People across Wales can access hundreds of free courses this September to help boost their career prospects, confidence and wellbeing.

A recent survey around employment and skills conducted by Beaufort Research on behalf of the Welsh Government found that 24% of people said not having the right skills was a barrier to them getting a job or finding a new job[1].

Despite this, 71% of people said they were not likely to start a course or continue studying within the next twelve months or so. When asked what was making it difficult for them to start a course or continue studying, cost was the most common barrier with 20% of people giving this reason, closely followed by age and not having enough time.

Adult Learners’ Week aims to address these barriers by offering a wide range of free online and in-person taster courses to help make learning more accessible for adults of all ages across Wales. Taking place this year from September 18th-24th, over 400 free online and in-person courses will be running throughout the month.

Learners will be able to choose from tasters, events, open days and learning resources that are free and accessible for everyone – from job and life skills to health, wellbeing, and the arts. The tasters aim to inspire more people to discover a passion for learning and help them develop the skills they need to start their career, progress at work, change roles or discover a new passion.

The greatest celebration of adult learning in Wales is Adult Learners’ Week, which is run by the Learning and Work Institute in partnership with the Welsh Government and can attract over 10,000 people each year.

Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: “Understanding and addressing the barriers to employment for people living in Wales, and supporting them to find meaningful employment opportunities, is vital if we are to continue to strengthen Wales’ economy.

“We know that not having the right skills is a huge barrier for many people, so creating opportunities for people to continue learning and developing new skills is essential. Adult Learners’ Week is our annual reminder that learning is for life. No matter your age, interests or background, there is a course out there for you. Adult learning offers a second chance to get inspired by learning and discover a new passion.”

Joshua Miles, Director for Wales at Learning and Work Institute, said: “We live in a world that is constantly changing, so continuing to learn and develop new skills throughout our lives is hugely beneficial. It helps us find employment, progress at work or even change careers later in life. It boosts confidence and supports our mental wellbeing. It’s a great way to meet new people and feel more connected to our local communities.

“So, whoever you are, and whatever your reason, this Adult Learners’ Week is your sign to never stop learning. The online and in-person tasters and courses are free, flexible and open to all ages – visit the Adult Learners’ Week website to find out what’s on in your area.”

Adult Learners’ Week is coordinated by the Learning and Work Institute in partnership with the Welsh Government and other partners. Some of the courses available across Wales this year include:

  • North Wales Learning Festival: Computing and Digital Skills for Beginners at Colwyn Bay Library – 8th September 2023.
  • Basic Skills: English, Maths & IT engagement event – Neath Port Talbot Adult Learning in the Community, Welshpool Catholic Church Hall – 18th September 2023.
  • Explore Arts & Crafts, History, Welsh language and ESOL events across museums in Wales between 18th – 22nd September 2023.
  • The Football Association of Wales – Introduction to Coaching (online) – 19th September 2023.
  • Introduction to Pottery at Llanover Hall, Cardiff – 21st September 2023.
  • Singing workshop with Bronwen Lewis at Ebbw Vale Learning Action Centre –23rd September 2023.

For more information, and to find an activity or taster session near you, visit https://workingwales.gov.wales/change-your-story/adult-learners-week.

[1] State of the Nation 2023

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