"For a 26-year-old unemployed male, the idea of going into a closet with a careers guidance counsellor for an hour is not a big turn on. It's actually a block, a horrendous experience that gets in the way of learning," Michael Thorne, vice-principal of Napier University, told a session on the new University for Industry.
Professor Thorne was instrumental in setting up a radical pilot in adult education that involved Sunderland University and Gateshead College, before recently coming north. The pilot includes promoting opportunities at the Metro Centre in Gateshead, the largest shopping centre in Europe, using shops, telephone selling of adult education and a network of local learning bases.
"Most people's first step could and should be anything. It could be basket-weaving but it's about confidence," he said.