The growing private sector in adult learning

John Field’s very interesting thoughts on a future for Adult Learning


I spent a week in August stewarding at the local rugby club during Whitby Folk Week. The fact that it was the 50th Folk Week is interesting in its own right, reflecting the rise of a particularly tenacious and passionate sub-culture in the 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as its continuing and changing existence today. But as I was standing by the entrance I was struck by a couple of advertising cards, offering courses and coaching in musicianship, as well as a flyer for Newcastle University’s degree in folk and traditional music.

002I’ve been struck for some time by the steady growth of private sector adult learning. No one really knows how large it is, though an investigation in 2009 identified 12,300 private training providers in the UK operating above the VAT threshold. While there were a dozen or so very large providers, most private trainers and educators…

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