Using Knowledge Economy materials for local campaigning – an example from Leicester

Facing the funding cuts that have been forced on councils across Britain, Leicester City Council is in the process of considering conducting an Organisational Review of its Adult Skills and Learning Service.

Les Price, University and College Union (UCU) branch secretary at Leicestershire Adult and Community Education, has written to the council calling on them to ensure that this is more than a cost-cutting exercise which damages access to education and skills in the city. Les’s letter namechecks the Knowledge Economy campaign and draws on the research resources from the website.

Les notes that a large and diverse body of research, including recent research work commissioned by the department for business, innovation and skills, highlights the positive facts that:

  • Adult Learning can transform well-being, optimism, efficacy and health during adulthood.
  • There is an important link between an adult’s participation in learning, formal or informal, during adulthood and subsequent changes in their health and behaviours.
  • Adults show clear cognitive gains from participating in Adult and Community Learning, regardless of whether that learning involves qualifications.  Such participation also has a defined impact upon life satisfaction.
  • Lifelong learning is particularly associated with behaviours that support people to find routes out of poverty. All learning is a stimulus for change.
  • Adult learners consistently identify an increase in self-confidence as a result of learning. This impact is particularly distinct in those that have had the least positive previous experience of formal education.
  • The positive social impact of adult learning transcends individual gain. The positive community impact of adult and community learning, particularly in communities experiencing poverty and social isolation, has been clearly evidenced.
  • Adult Learning is key in securing social cohesion and community empowerment.

In response, the council has agreed to circulate the letter to all on the Scrutiny Commission.

As our communities face attempts to cut away their educational infrastructure, we will need to be out there making the argument for education, building local alliances and building pressure to ensure future generations are not locked out of the opportunities that education brings.

UCU branches have a particular role to play in building the alliances for education at local community level.  Let us know what you are doing to build support for Knowledge Economy in your community. Email us at and tell us your story.

Remember, our briefings are all available here


Leave a Reply

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.