Jobs: Adult learning is ‘worth as much as a £750-a-year pay rise’

Learning a language or brushing up on maths skills can boost life satisfaction in the same way as a £750 a year pay rise, according to research commissioned by Whitehall.

Academics looking into the benefits of adult learning for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, found taking courses could mean people are less likely to be depressed and can even help offset the ageing process!

Skills minister in the government, Matthew Hancock, said: “Poor basic skills contribute to a downward spiral for too many people preventing them from reaching their potential. That is why we are funding free maths and English GCSEs for all adults who need them, and for those requiring maths and English in apprenticeships.

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“This research shows how adult learning, whether it’s a course to further someone’s career or an evening class for enjoyment, has the potential to change lives for the better, whilst also creating a highly-skilled nation that will help businesses to get the skills they need to grow and boost our international competitiveness.”

Fiona Aldridge, head of learning for work at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), said: “Time and time again, adult learners and those who work with them, tell us about the many benefits that they experience as a result of taking part in learning. In particular, the stories of learners nominated for Adult Learners’ Week awards provide powerful accounts of the wide-ranging impact that learning can have on people’s confidence and self-esteem, their health and well-being, their family and parenting, their employability and career prospects and their involvement in their community.

“We are extremely pleased that this series of reports provides further systematic evidence of the extent of the benefits that adults can experience as a result of their learning. We look forward to seeing how this will underpin practice and policy across government going forward.”

The research looked at how people taking adult learning courses would rate their boost in happiness in terms of money. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, it concluded that one course would improve life satisfaction in the same way as a pay rise of around £750.

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