Celebrating achievement in adult learning

by Jackie Borge of Borge Consulting. Continuing our guest blog series featuring Informed Scotland subscribers writing on the theme Making connections across the learning & skills landscape.

I’ve worked in adult learning for almost three decades, yet I still feel a tug on my heart strings when I hear how learning has affected people and changed their lives for the better. And that’s exactly what happened when I attended Newbattle Abbey College’s adult education conference in March for Informed Scotland.

The day was a celebration of the Adult Achievement Awards, developed in 2014 at the request of SCQF Partnership and Education Scotland, and credit-rated by Edinburgh Napier University in 2015.

Through a mix of keynote speakers, workshops and group discussions, attendees heard about the successes of the pilot programme and about plans for the future. We heard learners talk about feeling more confident, about experiencing achievement and recognition (often for the first time in their lives), and of having a passion and desire to continue learning, ‘It’s opened me up to be hungry, to have more… I want more now’.

During his keynote speech, John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, talked about the importance of ‘supporting adult learners to achieve their potential’ and ‘ensuring that we have accessible learning in communities’.

Cath Hamilton, Education Officer with Education Scotland, reported on national priorities and developments in adult learning, and mentioned ‘the importance of cross-sectoral and partnership working for us all to realise our ambitions for adult learning in Scotland’.

The pilot programme has been running since 2015 and Marian Docherty, Newbattle Abbey College’s Depute Principal, reported on some of its key successes, including:

  • 29 pilots delivered across Scotland and one in the Isle of Man
  • 450 learners and over 100 tutors engaged across sectors and settings, including in the community, at home, in college, at work and through volunteering programmes.

Marian also shared information about plans for the future and delegates were asked to provide feedback. The plans are exciting and ambitious and include: rolling out the Awards across Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe; engaging providers and employers; and developing a new Award at SCQF Level 2.

I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings, to a time when the Awards are a ‘must have’ for individuals and when employers recognise the value of the qualification. 

Jackie is also an associate, AJ Enterprises.
For further information email jackie@jackieborge.co.uk and follow @borgeconsulting on Twitter.

Read previous guest blogs in the series, including those from GTC Scotland, Be Personnel, SCEL, Clyde Gateway, EDT Scotland and SCQF Partnership.

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