Supporting the Welsh lifelong learning system

Project status Active

Plans in Wales for a new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, and the introduction of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill to the Senedd, represent a shake-up to how higher and further education is governed and organised in Wales.

As part of this, the WCPP have been asked to contribute a review of lifelong learning to inform the new Commission’s remit in this area. Our review covers best practice in lifelong learning, balancing a comprehensive, universal offer with targeting those who need the most support, and the role of government and the new Commission in governing the system. Specifically, we have aimed to answer the following questions:

  1. How should ‘lifelong learning’ be understood and defined, and what are the appropriate rights and entitlements?
  2. Which groups would most benefit from lifelong learning provision and what are the barriers to reaching them? How do you balance a universal offer or entitlement with targeting the groups that would benefit the most?
  3. How can a lifelong learning system best balance different economic and social objectives?
  4. What is the role of the government in agenda setting and incentivising good practice? How can institutions and stakeholders best be supported to extend provision?
  5. How does the Welsh offer intersect with other parts of the United Kingdom, including the ongoing reform programme in England?

In addition to our evidence review, we held a virtual roundtable event with experts in the field to support this work and consider the role of government in promoting a lifelong learning system.

Our work takes a strategic focus including the ways in which lifelong learning can support other policy objectives including skills and well-being. It will be of interest to policymakers involved in establishing the Commission and those looking to understand how to promote and support lifelong learning.