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Annie Hayes

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Half of adults recognise value of training

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Over half (57 per cent) of adults consider training a worthwhile investment of time and money, while a quarter are currently involved in training, a government survey shows.

There are significant regional variations across England in perceptions of the value of training, with those in the West Midlands most in favour, at 65 per cent, compared to 50 per cent of those in the North West.

The study also found further regional differences amongst those who actually invest in training, with the keenest learners being in London (31 per cent) and the South East (28 per cent).

Nearly half of the more than 17,000 surveyed weren’t aware of the financial return on investment which learning can offer. This apparent lack of awareness was consistent across the regions, but the younger generation of 18-24 year olds (at only 26 per cent) went against the trend.

According to the survey, a quarter (24 per cent) of people in England were taking a training course, a figure that increased to 36 per cent in the capital. Many of these saw it as a way of progessing at work, and over a third (36 per cent) were actively looking to progress more at work, while 33 per cent were looking to get promoted.

Time constraints were blamed by respondents as having an impact on their ability to undertake a course, with 57 per cent of those surveyed admitting they would like to learn a new skill but there are not enough hours in the day.

David Lammy, Minister for Skills, commented: “It is very encouraging to see that many adults across the country are enjoying the benefits of investing in themselves, and are seeking career progression.

“However, the regional differences in both attitudes to, and participation in, lifelong learning reveal that a perception gap still exists for some in regard to what training can offer. Attending an FE course improves your career prospects, employability and overall quality of life, and I am committed to ensuring adults nationwide are aware of this. Further Education and training providers across the UK offer a diverse choice of value-for-money courses, which may be subsidised, making them accessible to everyone.”

In support of the drive to encourage individuals in England to learn, a new Skills Campaign, ‘Our Future, It’s In Our Hands’, was launched by the Learning and Skills Council last month. The campaign aims to celebrate learning by encouraging people to take control of their own future and learn a new skill.

Further information on the campaign is available at www.lsc.gov.uk/inourhands

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Annie Hayes

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