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Social Research

Annual learning and skills assessment

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  • Release date: 19 June 2005
Lifelong learning is at the heart of the Assembly Government’s objectives for creating social justice and economic success.

Yet, while the post-16 sector delivers some excellent quality provision and has many strengths. It faces a number of challenges including:

  • responding to demographic changes over the next few years are placing greater pressure on the finite resources for post-16 learning
  • ensuring that learners have greater choice and higher standards, with a wider range of academic and vocational programmes
  • achieving high quality across the full range of provision
  • enabling adult learners to have greater access to provision for basic skills
  • training for work and learning for personal development
  • engaging much more effectively with employers to meet local skills needs and improve productivity.

In addition there are long-term problems of widely diverging standards of learner achievement, a legacy of historic under-investment in the learning and skills sector and the inheritance of unsustainable, inequitable funding models, which have encouraged wasteful duplication, nugatory competition, and sustains too much poor provision.

There are many activities in place which will enable us to facilitate learning that meets the needs of individuals, businesses and communities, improving choice and ensuring more flexible, accessible learning opportunities with clear academic and vocational progression routes. There are already promising signs of change – for example, greater numbers of people are participating in learning – but more needs to be done. This Assessment of Learning – a key element within the National and Planning Funding System - reviews some of the learning policy developments and challenges facing the learning network and highlights the emerging priorities that the Welsh Assembly Government and learning providers will need to address over the medium term.

Considerable progress is being made in the collection and analysis of data and intelligence to help inform the National Planning and Funding System. Baseline datails produced and updated twice a year covering all economic and social indicators on learning and the labour markets at a national, regional and local level. This information is being enhanced by information collected from Sector Skills Councils, Regional Committees, CCETs, and a whole range of other national, regional, local and sector partners. As we move forward it is our intention to become ever more sophisticated in the use of this intelligence in support of planning and funding, but it must be emphasised that the priority for intervention will be in those areas of clear ‘learning market’ failure i.e. where learning provision demonstrably is not meeting the needs of individuals, businesses and communities.

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