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Researching the needs of adult learners

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education has commissioned the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research (IER) to undertake research which will provide insight into the needs of adult learners. It will also consider how policy and practice should adapt in the next five to ten years to increase participation and attainment. There is a particular focus on disadvantaged adults and those who may find education challenging. The research is being supported by the Group of Specialist Designated Institutions (of which WEA is one). The research findings will be shared with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education in July.

Interested in contributing?

Call For Evidence – IER are looking for contributions from interested individuals and institutions to build a view on the current state of policy and practice in adult education as well as looking ahead to what may need to change in the near future.

Adult Students’ Survey – IER are also looking for responses from current and recent adult students through an online survey aimed at gaining an understanding of what works and what needs improvement in current practice.

If you have any questions about either please contact

IER Business Class Evaluation report published

On 26 November, Business in the Community published its report Destiny should not be determined by demography which considers the impact of school-business partnerships on young people’s employability, as well as the effects of such partnerships on schools and businesses. The report is based on research carried out by Terence Hogarth and Lynn Gambin at the Institute for Employment Research which aimed to assess the impact of employer-engagement activities, the uplift of employability skills and added-value impact on pupils of the Business Class programme. This research was carried out over the past two years in conjunction with Education and Employers Research.

The full evaluation report can be downloaded from

Key professions losing staff due to lack of support for student mothers

clare_lyonette.jpgKey professions such as nursing, teaching and social work are losing thousands of potential recruits as student mothers drop out of higher education due to a lack of support from universities. New research led by IER's Dr Clare Lyonette is published today. The research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, highlights the true scale of the pressures placed upon mothers who go to university and calls for more to be done to assist them. Read more about the project and download the reports here.

Futuretrack Findings

Findings from Stage 4 of the HECSU-funded Futuretrack study are highlighted in a special issue of Graduate Market Trends (GMT), published by HECSU (February 2013). An IER research team, led by Professor Kate Purcell, followed the progression of the 2005/2006 cohort of applicants to higher education from application to graduation. Data from the Futuretrack study has raised important questions about the types of employment obtained by graduates, finances, career opportunities and further study.

Further details about the research can be found on the IER website at: , where PDFs of the project’s published Reports and Working Papers can be accessed and downloaded, as can PDFs of the online questionnaires used for each stage of the longitudinal research.

Professor Purcell notes: "This is the most ambitious and comprehensive research ever undertaken to explore the relationship between higher education and access to opportunity. The data we have collected is extraordinarily rich, the published reports produced so far only show the tip of the iceberg . There is much more to come..!”

Futuretrack Prize Draw Winners Announced

Results of the Futuretrack Prize Draw were announced today (28 March). 110 lucky prize draw winners have been selected and contacted by the Futuretrack team with the good news.

HECSU donated 10 prizes of £1000 and 100 prizes of £100 as an incentive for respondents to participate in the final wave of the Futuretrack Survey - the most extensive investigation of the relationship between higher education and employment ever undertaken in the UK.

Data from this final wave of the survey will now be analysed and results published later in the year. For up to date information on Futuretrack, visit

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