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Adult education: making it a genuine second chance

You can download the event slides below:


Policymakers across the world have long been interested in the role that adult education can play in providing a second chance and equipping workers with the skills they need for the ever-changing labour market.

In the UK, the government has placed a high-emphasis on the role of technical and adult education in helping to level-up poorer areas of the country. This has led to the creation of the ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee.’ This represents a broad commitment by the government to provide every adult with the opportunity to access the training and education they need throughout their life.

This event will examine the potential role that adult education can play in providing a genuine second chance, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who leave school with few formal qualifications. IFS researchers will set out the planned reforms in the context of recent changes to learner numbers and funding, as well as the likely impact of planned reforms given the details and evidence base. The event will also include an overview of findings from a recent trial in Norway that sought to provide extra education and training to young adults, and which had a particularly marked impact on women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

There will also be a high-level panel of experts providing their own perspectives and thoughts on how adult education can be reformed to ensure that it provides a genuine second chance.

This event and the analysis to be presented has been jointly funded by the NORFACE programme on the Dynamics of Inequality across the Life-course and the Nuffield Foundation.

Speakers include:

  • Imran Tahir – IFS researcher
  • Assistant Professor Patrick Bennett – University of Liverpool
  • Professor Alison Wolf – King's College London  
  • Professor Andy Westwood – University of Manchester
  • Alun Francis - Principal of Oldham College and Deputy Chair of the Social Mobility Commission

After the presentations, there will be plenty of time for questions.