Skills for older learners: the impact of adult community learning on the wellbeing of older learners - January 2012


The 15 adult community learning (ACL) partnerships across Wales provide lifelong learning for older leaners in the community. But, because the emphasis is on developing skills for employment, this does not suit much older learners, who are more interested in enrichment activities at their stage of life. These activities could be courses in hobby or craft skills or courses that help them to live a healthy life and maintain their wellbeing.


The Welsh Government should:

  • monitor the implementation of the delivering community learning policy to improve joint working across the departments, directorates and branches responsible for older people; and
  • gather data about learning opportunities in the Older People’s Monitor, so that it monitors wellbeing through learning as well as access to employment.

The Department for Education and Skills should:

  • work with other Welsh Government departments to pool all budgets aimed at supporting older people’s lifelong learning and wellbeing;
  • agree performance indicators or outcome measures for ACL partnerships to monitor their work with older people in supporting independent living; and
  • encourage and support ACL partnerships to support older people to organise and manage their own learning.

ACL partnership should:

  • increase flexibility in delivery methods, curriculum choice, session length and methods of assessment for older people, especially those over the age of 70.

Local authorities should:

  • make sure that local service boards improve their use of the ACL partnership expertise in delivering lifelong learning and joined-up services for older people.

 Best practice case studies

You can read the following examples of best practice in Appendix 1 of the full report:

  • Caerphilly ACL partnership: supporting skills for work and wellbeing
  • Caerphilly ACL partnership works with Community Partnerships
  • Neath Port Talbot ACL partnership supports welfare rights
  • Blaenau Gwent ACL partnership: working together to promote skills for employment
  • Anglesey’s Agewell programme includes the training of peer monitors
  • Swansea ACL partnership has an older people’s community learning centre

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