Cost is a barrier for potential adult learners

Researchers said almost one in ten of those they asked felt they could not afford to enrol on a training course

George Ryan

George Ryan

Almost one in ten of those surveyed said that they felt they could not afford to enrol on a training course

High-cost courses and fears over finances are creating barriers to adults who would like to go back into education.

The Department for Education published two reports authored by the Learning and Work Institute on adult participation in education: Barriers to learning for disadvantaged groups and the adult participation in learning survey 2017.

For the first time, in-depth interviews were undertaken with a selected sample of survey respondents.

The affordability of courses on offer was one of the barriers highlighted in the reports. Course costs were a particularly striking barrier for those on lower incomes, the researchers noted.

'Insurmountable' cost barriers

The report’s authors said some participants expressed feelings of being stuck and dissatisfied with their quality of life. They added: "Learning was one of the things that they thought could improve this situation, but they faced cost-related barriers that, for now, appeared insurmountable.”

One of the survey respondents said the biggest block is finance. "Of course, the fact that, you know, whatever the media might tell you, the benefits for disabled people are very much less than generous and every penny counts. So, the last thing you can do is spend money on education, however much you might like to.”

Potential adult learners said that if course fees were lower, this would encourage them to consider lifelong learning.

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