"Multiply by twelve the resources, knowledge, experience and encouragement you would have by yourself."
- Clemence Tanzi, participant
Amidst forces driving inequality, insecurity and environmental crisis, it's becoming increasingly important for more people to make learning and development a lifelong habit.
We think the importance of continual development goes beyond fostering personal employment and fulfilment, to fostering what is needed for individual and collective transition in the direction of a sustainable and equitable future. How could we create a totally different system, one that brings learning closer to the fundamental purpose of our lives - throughout our lives?
They couldn't find what they were looking for on the market. They wanted development opportunities but felt formal education or training didn't hold the answers. Eventually they realised that their meetings had become a space to moan to one another, so the idea was born to turn their shared need into something less whiny and more productive.
They created a website in the summer of 2016, recruited the pioneering pilot group and got started. In summer 2017 Enrol Yourself won the Our Place in the World award which brought support from InnovationRCA and UnLtd to expand to new regions in 2018, working with facilitators in London and Birmingham.
Greater need for lifelong learning and development is being shaped by global forces and trends:
A future of work that will increasingly require us to be lifelong learners
Public funding for adult education has been cut by over a third since 2010 and 35% of UK jobs could be under threat from automation. We are looking at a landscape in which continual re-skilling will need to become the norm, and we simply don't have the infrastructure - or the widespread demand needed.
A need for scalable access to lifelong learning at a time of increasing inequality
To avoid the growth of an unemployable ‘underclass’ we must open up access to lifelong learning.
‘Despite evidence that has clearly shown that economic gains for society outweigh the cost of investing in lifelong learning, it is a chronically neglected area.’
(John Field, 2012)
Increasing need for '21st Century' cognitive, creative and collaborative skills
The future of work is not only going to require ongoing learning. It is going to drive employer demand for human skills, such as creative problem solving, collaboration and emotional intelligence, as more and more tasks are automated.
We're on a mission to drive wider participation in lifelong learning and development, and spread the word about the power of peer groups.
There are some pockets of the population who have ready access to ongoing learning and development. Those the system serves well include favoured full-time employees with access to learning and development budgets, those with access to personal capital, those individuals with extraordinary levels of self motivation who are able to make the most of online and other resources, and some specific beneficiary brackets that are served by charities and social enterprise. For everyone else, it's a big stretch.
Peer-led approaches to learning not only create a dynamic, exploratory environment and lower the cost of learning, they also create wellbeing impacts which we are measuring through the Learning Marathon by asking participants to assess themselves during the process. Growing as a platform will enable us to replicate these impacts whilst providing access to learning to those who could not or would not want to learn in a formal, institutional setting.
"I didn't feel like apologising for anything I'd done and that was a big moment for me. I felt comfortable with the complexity of my project and able to stand up and talk about it"
- Ali Norrish, pilot participant
A world where peer groups are as ubiquitous as universities - but far less centralised and far more representative of their local populations.
We want to become a multi-local network of facilitators and hosts working to support adults to grow themselves, together. We would like to see the power of peer groups spread. We’re keen to become an organisation that is owned by and accountable to our facilitators, and perhaps to our learners too. We are still developing what this looks like and hope to work with people who are keen to build it with us.