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Research Briefing 1

Research Briefing 2

Intentions Poster

Outcomes Poster




Phase III Research Network:


Enhancing 'Skills for Life': Adult Basic Skills and Workplace Learning (2003 - 2007)

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:

Press Release 25th November 2009: Workplace Literacy Schemes Are Too Short To Improve Skills


Professor Alison Wolf (Institute of Education, London)
Professor Karen Evans (Institute of Education, London)
Professor John Bynner (Institute of Education, London)

Project Summary

This research aimed to develop a theoretically-informed and evidence-based analysis of both immediate and longer-term outcomes of workplace-linked interventions designed to improve adults’ basic skills. Specifically, it sought to:

  • Provide a theoretically-informed analysis of the outcomes and impact of workplace-linked interventions to improve adults' basic skills. Our objective is to identify when and how such programmes are effective:
    • in achieving a substantive impact on the skills and life-chances of participating adults, as indicated by improved and measured basic skills but also other life-course variables;
    • in increasing the potential productivity of workplaces and enterprises which sponsor basic skills instruction through their impact on employee behaviour, attitudes and networks;
  • Develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the interrelationships between learning, workplace experience, and lifecourse trajectories.
  • Contribute to the underlying research base and development of adult basic skills curriculum, pedagogy and teacher education.
  • Build capacity for longitudinal studies involving appropriate measures in the field of post-compulsory and lifelong learning.

The research builds upon ongoing work carried out through the new National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, the DfES funded centre based at the Institute of Education.
The project benefitted from extremely close links with the NRDC, and with its strong network of providers and researchers, notably the Lancaster-based Workplace Basic Skills Network of employers and practitioners, who are key players in the Basic Skills Agency’s National Programme for Workplace Basic Skills, and in Trades Union Learning Fund projects.
The NRDC network includes national agencies including NIACE and LSDA, and such providers as the London Pathfinder Programmes, the Liverpool Lifelong Learning Partnership. It has close links with the Basic Skills Agency.
In addition, we will collaborate with major businesses through the Business Forum on Lifelong Learning and the Goodison Group; through RDAs; and via our links with the Union Learning Fund.


Project Website:

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