Adult Learners Week

This week, we’re celebrating Adult Learners Week – a national week showcasing the value of adult learning, celebrating the achievements of learners and providers, and inspiring more people to discover how learning can positively change their lives.

A Department for Education (DfE) survey into understanding adults’ experiences of, and decisions about, learning revealed complex and unique relationships between their own perceptions of the personal benefits and personal costs of learning1.

There is strong evidence for the value of formal qualifications, with no apparent disadvantage if these are obtained after the age of 25. Participation in learning as an adult can also result in a range of wider benefits, with research demonstrating a positive impact on health and well-being, as well as upon our families and communities.

Increasing and widening access to learning is crucial to our future prosperity, fairness and inclusion as a nation.

If we are to engage more adults in learning, it is vital that we understand their motivations and the barriers to their engagement.

Adult Learners Week

The DfE survey reveals the main influences on whether and how adults engaged with and stayed in learning. These include:

• Previous experiences of education

• Perception of own learning capabilities

• A desire for personal betterment

• Encouragement to learn

• Financial and workplace support

• Emotional and practical support

• Flexibility of provision

• Quality of provision

The survey also revealed the behaviours and difficulties of learners. 

Group one:

• Life-long learners

• Defiant learners

• Outcome focused learners

These learners have a strong and clear purpose for learning, and are more able to overcome barriers to their learning. They seem more likely to decide to learn and enrol more quickly and easily.

Group two:

• Tentative learners

• Exhausted learners

• Stuck in the status quo learners

These learners lack a strong and clear purpose for learning and are less able to overcome their barriers. Learners in these groups seem more difficult to convince to take up learning opportunities, perhaps due to negative experiences in the past. More targeted and intensive support is required to help these learners recognise their learning purposes and to overcome their barriers to learning.

Learning with The B2W Group

At The B2W Group, our main goal is to empower people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop their careers.

Our training programmes are designed to engage learners with varying skillsets, experience levels, and abilities.

Whether it’s a young person looking to kick-start their career with our Digital Fast Track or Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, an unemployed person in need of formal qualifications from our Pre-Employment Training, or an individual wanting to expand their CV and skillset via our online distance learning offering – our goal is to support employed and unemployed people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

With government-funded contracts, our learning provisions are free to learners and employers.

Pre-Employment Training

As a training provider, we want to help unemployed individuals in the UK get back into work. All of our funded pre-employment courses play an important role in preparing learners for the world of work. With guaranteed interviews upon completion, our courses deliver qualifications which are specific to the end employer.

We spoke with Grigorijs Dorosevs who recently completed our Pre-Employment Training programme in Construction, earning his CSCS Green Skilled Worker Card. Grigorijs went on to find full-time employment just a week after completion of the course:

What new skills and knowledge have you learned?

I wanted to gain new skills which would allow me to get back to work in the construction industry. Health and safety in construction. Health and safety level 1. Gained employability skills, how to write a CV, and ‘sell’ myself to potential employers. I was able to achieve exactly what I wanted.

I started my job shortly afterwards, literally within a week

Would you recommend us to others?

Yes, would highly recommend it because:

New knowledge, new skills, and official documents issued.

Issued documents are widely recognised and accepted, especially CSCS card.

The fact that training was free for me, has helped, as I was unemployed for 3 months before I started the course. The grant of £50 I have spent on a buying Webcam and microphone and paying for travel to Kings Lynn for a test.

I found a job literally within a week after a course, so thank you!

What Our Learners Have to Say

“It provides good training in aspects of warehouse work which can also be used in other roles and allows someone to progress or change their career. It will allow me to feel confident that I can do warehouse roles if the future. I learnt new skills and l just love learning new things. I really enjoyed meeting new people and working with them in parts of the course and that we helped each other.” – Julie Highfield, Warehousing.

“The course exceeded my expectations by helping me understand how to correctly do sentences. It helped me find a job that I love and, how to communicate with management. The tutor was amazing, he exceeded my expectation for support as he checked in with everyone via a phone call, made sure everyone new what was needed for questions and, he was happy to repeat if you needed that extra support. Thank you once again. I now in employment you gave me the confidence for the interview to know what to say to secure job.” – Heather MacDonald, Warehousing.

Here are some other happy learners from our Pre-Employment Training provision:

Brendon also enrolled on our Warehouse Pre-Employment Training and also found employment on completion:

“My whole experience with Back2Work has been wonderful. The course was brilliant, and my tutor Mandy Rigg really supported me through the work. I learned a lot from the course, and it really helped me prepare for my interview.

“My interview was booked very quickly, and I was given all the information. It was relatively informal, and I got a decision about the job immediately. I started work the following week.

“I really enjoyed my course, learned a lot and they have and continue to help me with finding work.”

Darryl Messenger completed both our Construction and Warehousing courses and is now working on site.

Digital Marketing Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship combines work and study to help learners advance in their chosen career. It is a great educational choice for any age, with different levels available to suit existing skill sets.

Oliver Steele, who recently passed his Level 3 Digital Marketer Apprenticeship with The B2W Group, said: “My apprenticeship journey with The B2W Group has been a positive growing experience from the get-go. Coursework has never been a strong suit of mine but with a lot of patience and support I was able to translate my aptitude within my job role into a reflective portfolio which gained me a qualification! Continuing to work with The B2W Group after completing my Apprenticeship is a good reminder that I picked the right provider to learn and grow with. I have the opportunity to help draw attention to this amazing provision which has helped me break into a career that I have discovered a real passion for.”

Jacob Porter earned a Distinction for his Digital Marketer Apprenticeship and highlighted the advantages of this type of experience in earning him a full-time role: “Completing the Digital Marketing Apprenticeship has allowed me to follow my biggest plans in life. I’ve succeeded in something I love and I couldn’t be more thankful for what The B2W Group offers. I wish to continue my education in this field until I am qualified to lead others into success. Working at The B2W Group is a very fulfilling job. Thank you to the team at The B2W Group and my Skills Coach Dean who has been their every step of the way.”

Distance Learning

Our E-Learning courses make it easy and convenient for employees to up-skill themselves in various areas. 

The courses are extremely flexible and allow learners to work at their own pace and access the online resources when and where convenient.

Indarjit Gill-Johal completed a Level 3 CMI Coaching and Mentoring qualification earlier this year. We spoke to her about her experience:

Why did you want to enrol on this course?

I like learning and reading research findings and articles. I also take an active part in my personal and professional development. 

This course was more suitable than others as it was online and there was flexibility. This allowed me to complete units in my own time and worked around my existing commitments. I found the contents of the modules interesting and saw it as an opportunity to really explore the area of coaching and mentoring. As I am a Practice Educator and have students on placements, this course builds around my existing skills and knowledge.

What did you enjoy most about this course?

I enjoyed the flexibility and found that this made the learning experience more enjoyable. I was able to build on my existing knowledge and it gave me the opportunity to look at things from a coaching and mentoring perspective. I liked the structure of the course and found it stimulating. It really made me think and reflect on both present and past experiences and how I can do things differently in the future. 

Both of my tutors were also extremely supportive and responded to queries promptly, making me feel valued as a student.

What new knowledge have you learned?

I feel as though I have developed my existing skills to the next level. I have learned about stages in both the coaching and mentoring process in more depth. For example, I now know more about relationship building, exploring the situation, action planning, goal setting and reviewing. I have had the opportunity to explore coaching and mentoring in the master class, through my own reading and through discussion with my colleagues who are completing the course on different cohorts. 

Has the course helped you to progress in the workplace?

Yes definitely. I believe in applying theory to practice. I have a team which I manage and have been implementing my new knowledge within my role. I have used some of the concepts and techniques to help develop others and assist them with their learning.

Would you recommend us the others?

Yes. The flexibility means it will suit a lot of people. Especially in the current climate. The course provides great support and encouragement from Tutors. As well as this, learners will be able to attend great masterclasses which provides overviews of the units. The course will allow learners to build on their knowledge.

Beverly Velloza is a Special Needs Teaching Assistant and recently earned our Level 2 Children & Young People’s Mental Health qualification:

What made you want to take part in this distance learning course?

The main reason I signed up to do the Children & Young People’s Mental health course was to extend my knowledge on the topic. 

What did you enjoy most about this course?

The course content taught me new techniques that I could apply in my role to help those that have mental health illnesses. 

What new skills and knowledge have you learned?

After completing this course, I learned how to recognise the signs of mental illness and understand how to approach those involved. The qualification provided some great resources, so I have access to contact information and organisations that can help to support children and their families.

Did you find that the course met your expectations?

I found it to be very informative and very interesting. The content and units kept me engaged throughout the duration of the course. The support from my assigned tutor was also excellent and she gave me lots of encouragement.

How has this course helped you progress in the workplace?

The course has helped me to recognise the signs that children and young people display that could be an indication of mental health. I also spoke to the headteacher about the course and she was very impressed by all of the content involved.

Would you recommend the distance learning courses to others?

Yes definitely. It is very interesting and easy to follow. It also goes in depth and covers a lot of content.

Helping People into Full-Time Employment

A large part of the work we do at The B2W Group is to support people into full-time employment. We do this with relevant training in their desired field and guaranteed interviews with our employer partners.

Looking at our year-to-date figures, The B2W Group has supported 1,804 learners into full-time employment across areas such as warehousing, construction, health and social care, digital skills, and contact centre roles.

Not all of our learners go onto full-time employment. Some pursue further training in order to gain the relevant skills and experiences required for their chosen career path. Year-to-date, we have facilitated 176 learners into further training across warehousing, construction and digital skills.

Why Is Adult Learning Important?

We caught up with The B2W Group’s Operations Manager Terry Collier to chat about why adult learning is so important to ourselves and the future of the UK.

Why is adult learning important?

Ultimately, adult learning is about supporting people on their chosen career paths. It’s about engaging with people and providing them with the knowledge, skills, behaviour, and opportunities to get them into the job market.

The pandemic has made this all the more important due to high unemployment and a drop in recruitment. Our programmes are designed to tackle these barriers head-on and help people overcome them.

A lot of our learners haven’t received formal education in a long time, so it’s new territory. We’re able to offer them personal development and the confidence and skills which they can use to enhance their CV, interview techniques, and career prospects. Education can be the ultimate route to social and economic mobility and it gives people the opportunities to pursue their goals in life. These goals are in line with the goals of the country – the more people who are able to provide a positive contribution the better that is for the economy.

What do we do to help adults find full-time employment?

We hope that our courses spark a career in our learners. They’re designed to give learners intrinsic motivation to pursue their goals, and we aim to open doors that might otherwise be closed.

Our courses are linked directly to employment opportunities, meaning that there is a very clear goal of full-time employment at the end. Our aftercare team are there to help learners focus on their intended destination. 

Our courses often engage with learners with little formal recognition of their skills. While they often have a wealth of life experience, they might not have the formal qualifications required to kickstart their career. Through the gaining of accreditation, we see learners’ confidence grow as they move into employment.

Tell us about the achievements B2W have had?

Despite the challenges during the pandemic, we’re still seeing more than 60% of our learners reach a positive destination (including full-time employment).

We also see a satisfaction rate of more than 95%, which is no small feat. We receive regular feedback from our learners that the skills and qualifications they have received from us have been invaluable to them.

What makes a great adult learning tutor?

We’re always looking for tutors who genuinely care about making a difference to learners. You have to have the desire to teach. Our tutors are dedicated to their learners, which means they often go above and beyond. They work extremely hard, but they know the value of their work and that gives them a real sense of accomplishment.

Our tutors also have specific knowledge of experience in their subject matter and this helps their credibility with learners. 

Our tutors understand that education is a way out of disadvantage. When faced with learners who truly want to better their circumstances, our tutors are eager to help. 

What does the future of adult learning look like?

Even post-pandemic, digital courses will become more and more relevant. I feel that companies will require digital skills due to remote working and the obvious benefits this has – to the environment, to the company, and to the economy. 

Digital literacy is a prevalent skill in any sector, and is high on the government agenda.

I hope we continue to see further investment in the FE sector in the coming months and years.

Want to Know More?

For more information on how we support Adult Learning, click below: