Ufi and Learning and Work Institute

Shifting the dial on adult participation in learning for work.

For more than a century Learning and Work Institute (L&W) has been working for a prosperous and fair society in which learning and work provide opportunities for everyone to realise their potential and ambitions throughout life.

Our strategic partnership is focused on championing how the very best technology can help more people in the UK to engage in learning for work. Together we want to improve the UKs skills base by understanding the challenges, testing new ideas and spreading good practice about how digital tools and technology can help widen access to training and skills development.

“Stark and persistent inequalities in adult learning mean that those who could benefit most are the least likely to participate. This has implications for individuals’ earnings, health and wellbeing, reinforces disparities and limits the UK’s economic growth.

We are delighted to be working partnership with Ufi VocTech Trust to address these imbalances using technology. Through our partnership, we will advocate for the use of the best digital tools and pedagogies to support adults, particularly those furthest from provision, to access learning opportunities and improve their skills.”

Naomi Clayton, Deputy Director, Learning and Work Institute


The benefits of lifelong learning (helping people to find and progress in work, health and wellbeing) are not spread evenly across the UK. There are large inequalities in access to learning by age, socioeconomic group, region and nation, and prior educational attainment and this is a significant problem if we are to deliver the skills we need for the future.

Together, Ufi and L&W are working to show how a tech-enabled skills system can help close these gaps, working to develop new ways of thinking, to influence policy and help implement new approaches.

Activities and achievements


VocTech Challenge: Skills for an Economy in Transition

Ufi and L&W are delivering the next VocTech Challenge programme: Skills for an Economy in Transition.

The challenge will explore the question:

How can VocTech (digital tools and pedagogies) help narrow inequalities and ensure every adult can participate in learning throughout their working lives, so that the UK has the skills it needs for an economy in transition?

Together we will review existing research and good practice, challenging current assumptions testing them against evidence from the real, lived experiences of learners and people working in the vocational and adult skills sector. Through workshops, consultation and interviews we want to hear the voices of those who are not often heard. We will look for new insights and ideas that are practical and actionable, not just what is already common knowledge.

Our findings will be published in a series of articles which along with our own research will inform a white paper that sets out a programme of grant funding, partnerships, and advocacy.

VocTech Challenge: Skills for an Economy in Transition

Festival of Learning

Ufi will support an award in L&W’s flagship campaign, Festival of Learning.

Our award will seek to recognise excellent learning technology developments and deployments across the adult education sector, focusing on cases that support learners furthest from existing provision.

The annual Festival of Learning highlights the benefits of learning, celebrates the achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives, and encourages everyone to embrace lifelong learning.

Explore the Festival of Learning
Festival of Learning

Thought leadership and advocacy

Ufi and L&W will closely collaborate during both the Lifelong Learning Week and the Week of VocTech.

Ufi will also support L&W’s Adult Participation in Learning Survey to identify key trends in the development, deployment and use of vocational technology in adult learning.

The Adult Participation in Learning Survey is the longest running and most frequently occurring study of adult learning in the UK. It adopts a broad definition of learning, including formal, non-formal and informal learning, rather than just publicly offered educational opportunities for adults.

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