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Adult learners


Adult education students taking a test in school
© Istock / lisafx

A union and university partnership helps students develop skills and work opportunities

Not all students are young people living on a lively university campus. Indeed in Scotland nearly four out of ten students are part-time and often working to support themselves. These adult learners make a huge contribution to the skills and aptitudes of the workforce. A critical factor in their success is the 2000 Union Learning Representatives in workplaces across the country. These Representatives support their work colleagues in finding and accessing learning and training opportunities – helping some 10 000 during the past year.

With ESF support, the Scottish Union Learning initiative works in partnership with the Open University to offer courses covering a wide range of sectors, from engineering to childcare. "Around 12 % receive some financial sponsorship from their employers but many more tell us they are hugely encouraged when they receive respect and recognition for their studies from workmates or their employer," relates Dr Pete Cannell, deputy director of the Open University in Scotland.