Thousands benefit from learning programme success

Adult learners are turning their study successes into opportunities that are making a difference to their families’ lives - thanks to services provided by Swansea Council and Gower College Swansea.

Estyn inspectors have praised the targeted, innovative and worthwhile work being done by the Adult Community Learning Partnership and the support it gives to almost 8000 people across the city. The service has seen people turn their learning into employment and business opportunities as well as improve their basic skills in key areas such as maths and English, or help their children get a better start to life.

Success stories include a learner in jewellery making who now sells her pieces commercially, a student on a floristry course at Gower College Swansea who set up their own business and participants on a Dads cookery course who boosted their parenting skills and their childrens’ school attendance too.

Education inspectors Estyn rated the Adult Community Learning Partnership, the major providers of which are Swansea Council and Gower College Swansea, as good overall and with excellent prospects for improvement. They have called for the excellent practice identified during the inspection to be shared across Wales.

Cllr Jen Raynor, Swansea Council Cabinet member for Education, said: “I am delighted the success of the partnership now, and the vision we share for the future, has been recognised by Estyn. The report shows that adult learning is changing lives for the better across Swansea. It’s having a positive impact on communities, families and the local economy. As well as giving people a new lease of life and enabling them to play a more productive role in their community and family, learners use their new skills to progress, to enable them to gain work or set up a business.”

Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea, said: “On behalf of the wide range of partners who contribute to the planning and delivery of adult community learning across Swansea, we believe that this is a fair report which accurately recognises the real strengths of the partnership work and the partnership’s determination to make an even greater contribution for the benefit of adults across the city and county of Swansea.”

The partnership has 7762 enrolments on courses as wide ranging as basic literacy and numeracy skills, healthy eating, floristry, jewellery making, photography, ICT and woodworking to name just a few.

Estyn found the Swansea Learning Partnership worked very well together, and with other organisations such as Communities First, to provide well-targeted courses in venues easily accessible to learners and that resources were deployed effectively to support achievement. It has been praised for its very good understanding of the aim to make sure that all adults within the area, whatever their abilities, reach their full potential.

All adult learners in Swansea achieve good standards and make good progress, performing better than the national average. Learners from the most deprived areas of the city succeed as well as learners from the rest of the county.

Specific courses, such as essential skills in environment and woodworking, are attracting young male learners to improve their chances of employment.

Estyn has now invited the partnership to prepare a written case study on excellent practice identified during the inspection to enable the good practice to be shared across Wales.