The Future for Lifelong Learning
– the impact of lifelong learning on migration and communities
Ufi was established in 1998 since when it has established and managed the national adult careers
service; learndirect careers advice, learndirect skills and qualifications which now operates
through around 750 centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the learndirect business
brand which includes learndirect learning through work (higher education) and e-courses offer
Ufi was set up to create demand for learning for adults and to help meet that demand through
using technology to create and deliver learning. By our very nature we support the philosophy of
lifelong learning and are especially interested in those in migrant communities who have low or no
qualifications. Ufi wants to support everyone to transform their lives, to help people get a job if
they haven’t got one, or to progress within their job if they do. Since 1998, 9 million people have
used the learndirect careers service and over 2.3 million learners have learnt with us. Ufi has
established that mass market delivery of good quality learning and skills is possible.
The Leitch Review told us that 50% of the workforce of 2020 is already over 25. We know that to
reach most of the people who can make a significant impact on our skills levels and productivity,
traditional classroom-based methods will not suffice. The majority (70%) of the 2020 workforce is
already working and we must ensure that they can progress through learning in the workplace. At
the same time, it is important to bear in mind that most young people today will have a number of
different jobs in their lifetimes and enable them to learn outside the workplace too.
There are three things which most exercise us here at Ufi. The first of these is ensuring that we
are really getting to and supporting the people who are in the most need of intervention. We know
from the Leitch Review that there are 10.85 million people who don’t have Level 2 qualifications in
the UK today, 7 million of those people are in the workforce, meaning that a quarter of the working
population do not have Level 2 qualifications. Of this 10.85 million, 4.2 million people have no
qualifications at all, 2 million of whom are in the workplace. The UK needs to ensure that these are
the people who are getting the most support in the workplace, because we know that employers
today tend to train more highly skilled employees, not those with the most need.
The second issue which we are passionate about at Ufi is that in order to access the hardest to
reach and develop careers advice for all, we need a learning and skills system which is fit for the
21st century. We need the technological capacity, funding, support and processes to get to the
very hardest to reach with the most attractive engagement and learning methods possible.
Finally, ensuring everyone has access to really good quality information, advice and guidance is
essential for a step change. For example, Ufi has provided over 100,000 guidance sessions by
phone since 2006. We have worked closely with a group of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) to
provide up-to-date Labour Market Information (LMI). We all deserve good quality advice and
guidance throughout our lives to enable us to move on and progress, whatever position we’re in. It
is only just to expect that if an adult is working hard to up-skill or re-skill that they know that they
will be rewarded at the end. We need to ensure that everyone knows how to access good IAG not
just about skills and qualifications, but also to overcome barriers to progression at work and to
There are real challenges facing each of us in the UK to upskill, most of us employed people. We
must deliver an additional 20 million achievements. This is the equivalent of more than half of us
upskilling by one level. 1 At the same time, the 80% employment rate ambition means that we must
also target provision on those who have traditionally been socially excluded. Both of these
Mike Campbell, SSDA : Upskilling the workforce of the 21st Century event, November 2007.
aspirations mean there is a need to find improved ways of engaging learners. On the one hand,
we need flexible ways of accessing learners in the workplace; be that through workplace learning,
such as the learndirect learning through work or the Union Learning Representative models, or
through easily accessible learning which individuals can undertake in their own time, around the
demands of work and family. On the other hand, we need to recognise that socially excluded
groups, which include not just migrants, but disabled people, older people and those with learning
difficulties, offenders and ex-offenders and lone parents, have broader requirements than just
economically relevant skills. We know that there are barriers to learning for these groups which
concern financial, shelter and family matters. Ufi was established to transform lives through using
technology and we believe that the use of technology is essential to meet these challenges.
In our response to this fourth call we present a broad range of evidence which spans primary
research, data relating to our own learners and users, references to third party research and offers,
some information about Ufi’s planned developments and examples of good practice. We have
provided some case studies which give examples of learndirect and UK online centres working
in their local communities. Beyond this, we have not sought to comment on the social benefits and
tensions which can arise from migration.
learndirect users – an overview
Ufi is not able to share ‘country of origin’ data and therefore we are sharing our ethnicity data here
as a rough proxy and to give an idea of the spread of our learners and service users.
learndirect learner profile for learners in England (source learndirect EDIM data).
Note: Data subject 2006/7 2001 Census Data
White 77% 91%
Asian 9% 5%
Black 9% 2%
Chinese/ other 3% 1%
Mixed 2% 1%
Not known 1% -
learndirect careers advice service user profile
Note: Data subject to rounding Aug 06 - Jul 07 2001
Asian or Asian British -
Asian or Asian British –
Asian or Asian British -
Asian or Asian British – Other 2%
Asian 11% 5%
Black or Black British -
Black or Black British -
Black or Black British – Other 1%
Black 9% 2%
Chinese/other 2% 1%
Mixed – White and Asian 0%
Mixed – White and Black
Mixed – White and Black
Mixed – Other 1%
Mixed 2% 1%
White – British 70%
White – Irish 1%
White – Other 5%
White 76% 91%
Interestingly there has been an increase of around 10% in the number of users who are non-White
over the past few years. This may be due to the development of the language line service.
learndirect learning through work student profile
Note: Data subject 2006/7 National 2 (06/07)
White 85 76.9
Black Caribbean 1.5 1.4
Black African 3.8 3.2
Black Other 0 0.4
Indian 3 2.9
Pakistani 2.3 1.8
Bangladeshi 0.8 0.6
Chinese 0 0.8
Other Asian 0 1.2
Prefer not to 0.8 8.0
Other inc mixed 3.1 2.8
Overview of current migration practices
In 2005/06 there were a total of 662,390 National Insurance registrations from non-UK nationals 3 ,
271,000 of these workers came to the UK from the new EU countries. In fact, the eight new EU
countries now send twice as many workers as Asia and the Middle East combined and migrant
workers from these so-called "A8" [accession eight] countries 4 now make up almost a half of the
total number of workers from abroad (662,400) registered in the UK with a national insurance
National data from HESA website: www.hesa.ac.uk/dox/dataTables/studentsAndQualifiers/
National Insurance Recording System (2006)
A8 EU countries include Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia and
This table shows the top ten countries for each year of registration since 2002 and the obvious
impact of enlargement in respect of Accession nationals between 2002/03 and 2005/06.
In terms of where migrant workers settle upon reaching the UK, in 2005/06 there were 235,600
migrants living in London who had applied for a National Insurance number 5 . The next most
popular region is the South East which has increased by 58% (29,000) since 2004/05, probably
due to the location of the ports and airports and the number of businesses in this region. The
North East is the region with the lowest number of migrant workers, just 11,100 in 2005/06 and
could be due to the lack of employment opportunities in this region. The table below shows the full
UK regional distribution:
The number is likely to be much higher due to the unknown number of illegal migrant workers
Migrant workers are most likely to be aged between 25 and 34. In 2005/06 this age band
represented 44.9% of the migrant worker population. In fact the population of migrant workers in
general is relatively young, with only 6.1% of this group being over the age of 44 in 2005/06. A
very small proportion of older people in Great Britain (4%) are from non-White ethnic minority
groups. In 2001, 15% of people from non-White ethnic minority groups were aged 50 and over
(around 672,000 people). This compares with 33% of the overall population.
Migrant workers come to Great Britain ultimately to find employment. In 2004/05 15,400 overseas
nationals were claiming out of work benefit within 6 months of registering for a National Insurance
number. This equates to 3% of this population group compared to 12% of the total working
population of Great Britain. The table below highlights the downward trend in migrant workers
claiming Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit / Severe Disablement Allowance or Income
Support since 2000/01.
This is possibly due to the requirement over the last two years that Accession Nationals must have
worked continuously for 12 months before they are entitled to income-related benefits. 6 According
to the Home Office 7 , Accession Nationals represent around one in 300 workers in the UK, yet
between May and September alone have contributed approximately £120 million to UK GDP and
paid approximately £20 million in tax and national insurance.
For many employers, migrant workers are seen as an important source of labour to meet skills
needs and address recruitment difficulties, often alleviating recruitment difficulties in sectors such
as hospitality and agriculture. As we can see, these workers are also helping to fill the age-gaps in
the UK’s demography. Analysis of the Labour Force Survey in 2002 shows that certain sectors are
more reliant on migrant workers than others. For example, Health Care; Education; Cleaning;
Food Manufacture and Agriculture; Hotels and Catering; IT; and Construction all have large
numbers of migrant workers. More recent analysis of WRS data confirms these trends, with Hotels
and Catering; Administration, Business and Management; and Agriculture being particularly
dominant sectors of employment among workers from the Accession States (Home Office et al.,
Evidence from the NESS 2005 suggests that migrant workers have contributed significantly to
reductions in recruitment difficulties and skills shortages. A report by CIPD 8 showed that:
• Approximately 25% of employers had intended to hire migrant workers;
• They expressed a preference for migrants from the EU accession countries such as
• 13% of employers expect to target vacancies at migrants in the coming twelve months.
Recent research commissioned by the Home Office identified that employers of low-skilled workers
reported that labour shortages were a primary reason for recruiting foreign workers 9 . They had
tried hard initially (through Jobcentres, local adverts etc.) to attract domestic workers but they were
unwilling to take these posts, as often the conditions, pay, hours or nature of the work were
unfavourable to them and migrants were more amenable to these conditions. Recruitment
difficulties amongst domestic workers were less widespread in the high-skill Finance and
Accountancy sector and were due to specific skills shortages, rather than labour shortages.
Employers cited advantages of migrant workers in terms of their general attitude and work ethic
stating that they tend to be more motivated, reliable and committed than domestic workers. For
example, migrants were said to be more likely to: demonstrate lower turnover and absenteeism; be
prepared to work longer and flexible hours; be satisfied with their duties and hours of work and
work harder in terms of productivity and speed. In the view of some employers, the more
favourable work ethic of migrant workers encouraged domestic workers to work harder. Migrants
had also widened the horizons of domestic workers by helping them understand more about other
cultures. Migrant workers’ greater commitment was a result of their motivations: they wanted to
learn English or send money to families at home. Employers also suggested that migrant labour
assisted in economic growth and an overall increase in job vacancies.
Migrant workers are concentrated in a range of industries. For example, of those who are in
employment, the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) estimates that nearly 70% of those
registered with employers in the South West were working in administrative, business and
management, hospitality and catering and agriculture.
National Insurance Recording System (2006)
Home Office Press release: New Figures Show Accession Workers Working For The UK (10 November 2004)
CIPD’s Quarterly Labour Market Outlook (Nov 16th 2005)
IES, Employers’ Use of Migrant Labour (2006)
Research conducted for the Department of Work and Pensions in 2002 10 showed that migrant
workers are concentrated at both the low and high end of the skills distribution. Migrant workers
were more likely to be highly qualified, with 19% of working age people holding degrees, compared
to 15% among the UK-born. Indeed, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in
highly skilled migrants coming to the UK.
On the other hand, a greater proportion of the migrant population has no qualifications (19%
compared to 16%), while fewer among the migrant population also have intermediate levels of
qualifications (Levels 2 and 3). Notably, a much greater proportion among the migrant population
has other (mainly unnamed) qualifications (32% compared to 12% among the UK-born). A large
number of migrants already have professional qualifications when they enter the UK but there is a
significant demand amongst this group for access to appropriate English language courses. A
recent report by the Institute for Employment Research 11 found that one of the major barriers to
employment faced by some migrants was their lack of English language skills. ESOL for the
workplace and APEL schemes will need to be bolstered in order to support this group of workers
into the future.
ESOL learners come from a vast variety of backgrounds. Some people will be professionals whilst
others may have received very little prior education in their own country. Therefore their
requirements are very different and this doesn’t tend to be recognised with ESOL development,
where the qualifications need to fit the structure of the system. Impact on the learner in terms of
integration outcomes or impact on the community are not measured or considered within the
learning aims. In reality, it is usually the learner’s experience and social engagement that are the
key elements in supporting cohesion, not the learning itself.
Barriers to learning and employment for migrant workers
Ufi research has highlighted the following barriers to employment for migrant workers. We can
assume that many of these are also barriers to integration.
• Poor pay for long hours
• Poor housing and conditions
• Often only stay for short periods of time
• Inadequate knowledge of the English language
• Good writing skills for paper work (Construction)
• Non-UK qualifications or work experience (Finance & Accountancy sector, plasterers and
• Hostility – race, religion
• Administrative burdens, e.g. applying for National Insurance numbers, setting up bank
accounts and chasing references
• Legality of workers e.g. forged documents
In its attempts to highlight the disadvantages and exploitation encountered by migrant workers in
the UK the TUC makes reference to its report ‘Overworked, underpaid, and over here’ which
expresses concern that whilst overseas workers are toiling for long hours, often for very little pay,
and housed in appalling conditions, in almost every case, the employers taking advantage of their
vulnerability and poor command of English escape punishment. The report calls on the UK
Haque, R, Migrants in the UK: A descriptive analysis of their characteristics and labour market performance, based on
the Labour Force Survey, DWP (2002)
Warwick University Institute for Employment Research. Changing patterns of employment by ethnic group and for
migrant workers: national report, by A Green et al. Warwick: IER (2005)
government to help improve the conditions of migrant workers by signing the UN Convention on
the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families.
Hostility towards newcomers, strongly influenced by the dynamics of race, ethnicity and religion is
an issue reported by IPPR in their recent research into migrant workers 12 . A higher frequency of
violence and abuse was reported among non-white migrants groups compared to eastern
European migrants. It would seem that the Somali community was a particular target of much
hostility, perhaps because of an unfortunate combination of perceptions around race, asylum-
seeking, welfare dependency and Islamophobia. The report states that misperception is at the
heart of hostility and tension around the arrival of newcomers. The role of misinformation about
migrant communities was often fuelled by a lack of accurate information as well as negative media
A recent report by the Institute for Employment Research 13 found that one of the major barriers to
employment faced by some migrants was their lack of English language skills. In its report Safety
& Migrant Workers (June 07), the TUC states that migrant workers in the UK may be at risk from
illness, injuries or even death at work due to a language barrier and a lack of safety training. The
long hours worked by many migrant workers could lead to an increase in accidents due to
overtiredness, and many are denied sick pay and so come into work when they are too ill to safely
do so. It states that a lack of fluent English may also prevent workers from grasping basic safety
procedures at work.
There has been a significant rise in the demand for ESOL provision over the last few years,
particularly from Eastern European migrants. People predominantly access Skills for Life/ESOL
provision via the FE funding route of the LSC. This provision is delivered in FE Colleges and
outreach centres managed by either colleges or the County Councils. People with Skills for Life
and ESOL needs who cannot access provision through Colleges and/or the County Council are
attracted to provision via learndirect, and Voluntary and Community organisations such as the
Workers Education Association (WEA). Access to ESOL provision for migrant workers living and
working in rural areas is seen as a particular issue.
IT skills are a pre-requisite for learning with learndirect and we ensure that all learners regardless
of their age or need (eg. ESOL, Skills for Life) receive basic IT training to help them to access their
learning. This also enables learners to gain skills which are useful elsewhere in their lives.
As we stated in the introduction, we are most concerned with supporting those with the most need,
ie. employees with no or low qualifications who are the least likely to receive training in the
workplace. Professional and technical employees are more likely than other types of employees to
receive training and this has been true since at least 2001. Around a quarter of professionals of
working-age receive job-related training compared to 7% of process, plant and machine operatives
and fewer than 9% of those in elementary occupations. 14
These individuals are most at risk of being in unsustainable (eg. temporary) jobs and most likely to
be taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. In some industries it is not unusual for
businesses to sub-contract their work to avoid training and other human-resource related
responsibilities. Looking to the future, it is these employees who are most likely to need to upskill
or reskill to stay in employment.
learndirect is a flexible option for workforce development which appeals to many employers as it
overcomes the barriers which they face in upskilling their employees. It is often delivered as part
The reception and integration of new migrant communities, IPPR (March 2007)
Warwick University Institute for Employment Research. Changing patterns of employment by ethnic group and for
migrant workers: national report, by A Green et al. Warwick: IER (2005)
2006 Keynote Market Report
of a blended offer. The difference between learndirect and many other ‘e-learning’ options is that
the pedagogy (learning) is built into the courses and a tutor is provided to support the learner
through the process, not to ‘teach’ them.
According to IPPR, various research (from Northern Ireland, north-east Scotland, and the East
Midlands) has found the lack of English language skills, and the pursuant communication barriers,
to be the biggest challenge in employing migrant workers (Bell et al., 2004; Solutions, 2005; Taylor
and Burch, 2004). Clearly, demand for provision from this group will continue to rise as long as the
number of migrants seeking work in this country continues to rise, especially as the European
Union has expanded further to include Bulgaria and Romania.
According to the IPPR study, The reception and integration of new migrant communities, there are
only a few regional studies of training in relation to the migrant workforce. Norfolk County Council
(2005) found that many employers in the agriculture and food processing industry had introduced
various initiatives to ensure good communication and positive integration (within a company and
the community as a whole). Some employers provided free English as an Overseas Language
ESOL) training, while others had tailored induction and training materials to be used in several
foreign languages. Both of these efforts were seen as key by the Health and Safety Executive
(HSE), who had been working together with various employers in these sectors to produce
guidelines regarding all issues around the employment of foreign nationals. This guidance covered
recruitment, health and safety, training, and management and supervision issues particular to a
multicultural workforce. There was varying practice with regard to the languages in which training
Many employers did offer training, particularly induction, in various languages. It was seen as
especially important that workers understood information provided during induction whatever their
level of competence in English. Employers in Scotland and Northern Ireland reported that many
migrant workers had experienced problems with regard to housing, and harassment and racist
discrimination in the community (Bell et al., 2004; Solutions, 2005). The Scottish research also
found that both employers and community organisations were interested in developing induction
packages for migrant workers to include information about the community and access to local
services (Solutions, 2005).
In terms of rules and regulations when employing migrant workers, the majority of employers are
more likely to encounter these when employing people from the accession states or A8 countries
(Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia). Workers
from these countries are entitled to work in the UK but must register with the Home Office unless
they fall into one of the exemption categories. The requirements are even more complicated for
hiring from the newest EU members, Bulgaria and Romania, whose employment is limited by
quota. This is deterring some companies from even considering them, despite help now being
offered by the Home Office, recruitment agencies and some SSCs.
In summary, migration to the UK has increased, not just because of globalisation and the
expansion of the EU, but because of the attractiveness of our flexible labour market and the
opportunity afforded by free English and pre Level 2 training. Instead of higher unemployment, the
outcome has been more jobs for migrants and the indigenous population alike. Nevertheless, the
availability of skilled and flexible workers from abroad does not in any way reduce the need for us
to improve the skills of our own population; to ensure they can compete in the labour market and
have the opportunity to take up one of the 600,000 vacancies which arise each month. Migrants
have shown that the jobs opportunities are there.
Provision of services aimed at migrant populations
There seems to be scant support available for migrant workers from the Third Sector, with the TUC
appearing to have the loudest voice in terms of lobbying government for improved workers rights
and better conditions for this group. Communication is the main barrier to employment for migrant
o Citizens Advice has launched a brochure entitled ‘Supporting Migrant Workers in Rural
Areas’ to promote social cohesion and to support the migrant worker community. This
Good Practice Guide looks at some of the challenges members of the Rural Bureaux
Network have identified when supporting migrant workers, and how rural Citizens Advice
Bureaux have overcome these challenges through a variety of initiatives. Examples of
content include: Welcome pack to fulfil the function of providing basic information. Also
provides the migrant worker with an introduction to and contact details for a range of
statutory and voluntary bodies and agencies and other groups with responsibility for the
services and facilities that he/she may require. A loose-leaf format enables the pack to be
expanded/updated as required. Examples of discussions with the local JobCentre Plus,
who gave them access to Language Line, and the Pension Service. Working within
Communities First areas, running advice surgeries in many of the wards covered by this
Welsh Assembly Programme. Many of the voluntary agencies in these areas work together
to actively engage with minority groups, including migrant workers. This has resulted in the
organisation of local training for the voluntary and statutory agencies, as well as joint
working to identify ways of improving services to minority groups in the areas.
o Migrant Helpline is a charity involved with: Providing advice and support for asylum seekers
and refugees entering and living in the UK, Facilitating the integration of asylum seekers
and refugees into the community, Promoting awareness of asylum issues. Migrant Helpline
runs Induction Services in Kent and Croydon for newly arrived asylum seekers. The
organisation also provides a network of One Stop Services throughout Kent and East
Sussex. In addition they run a series of programmes designed to help asylum seekers and
refugees integrate fully into the community. Such initiatives are designed to help migrants
to obtain employment, become proficient in English, find suitable housing and secure
education for their children.
o KALAYAAN is a charity campaigning for justice for migrant domestic workers. It gives
basic employment and immigration advice to Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK. They
also work closely with several immigration solicitors who offer free advice at Kalayaan
some Sundays and evenings. This service is free. English classes are run in collaboration
with Kensington & Chelsea College of Further Education and the Workers Education
Association runs ESOL Classes at different levels, from beginners to Level 3. From
September 2007 together with WEA they will also run ESOL and Citizenship classes on
Sunday afternoons. This is an alternative for workers whose English is not at a level which
will allow them to pass the Life in the UK test, a necessary requirement for Indefinite Leave
to Remain. They also provide informal classes, run by volunteers in English conversation
for people who cannot attend the ESOL classes as well as a study group to support
workers studying to take the Life in the UK test.
o As well as English and Welsh, learndirect careers advice has been operating for the past
couple of years in five other languages: Punjabi; Bengali/Sylheti; Somali (all since October
2003); Gujarati and Urdu (since Jan 2005). From February 2006 we expanded this service
to include Farsi, French and Polish. We have recently carried out some research on the
usage and perception of the language lines and this is summarised below.
o There are many learning centres which offer services to specific communities. The
following include one example of an organisation which engages with learndirect to
support their learners from Asian communities to complete the Health and Social Care NVQ
Level 2 and a further example of a learner who was able to improve his English skills with
Ufi and then return to his original profession as a teacher from his job in a pizza restaurant.
Enfield Asian Carers NIACE Improved
Consortiu... English Case St...
o In addition to the learndirect centres described above, which are focussed on delivering
skills and qualifications, there are UK online centres which focus on digital inclusion and
access to government services. Here are two further case studies. The first one gives an
example of an organisation which supports its local African and Caribbean community. The
second is the story of a young woman from the Ukraine.
NubianLife.doc (38 CS004 Nataliya
KB) Ince.doc (33 KB...
Ufi research into the language lines (July 2007)
The following chart graphs the traffic to the language lines. The fact that most callers are not in
work may be due to referrals from Jobcentre Plus and their prime contractors.
Caller profile, 2005 – 2007 ytd – All calls
• The rise in other responses in 2007/08 is due to an added category of
inappropriate calls that didn’t exist in previous years.
Calls Non Employed
2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 Total
Employed 3575 3922 1758 12793
Non Employed 6598 6928 2328 15854
Other 258 202 1613 2073
Many of the established language lines (Punjabi/ Sylheti/ Gujarati and Urdu) were set up to serve
communities that have become generally well-established in the UK. By contrast, the communities
of Polish, French and Farsi speakers are much ‘newer’ in terms of their size, infrastructure and
network of support facilities. Hence, callers for the newer languages tend to have less confidence
in their social or professional status, and the nature of the call on the newer language lines is often
Confidence levels within the newer language communities do vary significantly, however, with the
table below representing a hierarchy of confidence levels found from the research;
Social confidence Professional confidence Self confidence
Polish Iranian Farsi Iranian Farsi
Iranian Farsi French African Polish
French African Polish French Arab
French Arab French Arab French African
Afghani Farsi Afghani Farsi Afghani Farsi
Not all communities are equally motivated towards self-improvement. This could be due to the
inherited cultural pre-disposition of different groups. Iranians and Poles appear to be the most
inclined towards seeking out more from their time in the UK, followed by the French Arabs and
French Africans, with Afghanis tending to do less.
The largest and most established community. Large numbers and rapid growth has led to a
relatively well developed community network in many areas. Professionally many are very
focussed on their aims. They are in the UK to make money – often with the intention of going
home after a certain period. They are looking to ‘slot into’ the job market in an effective and
pragmatic way. They are not always looking for a job which matched their academic qualifications
– believing not all professional skills can be transferred.
These are often highly qualified people coming from traumatic backgrounds. Many are high
achievers back home but with a few concerns around how this fits into the UK job market. Social
confidence levels are high due to strong sense of self worth but community networks are limited.
Many are leaving turbulence behind and learning new skills to find employment. They have often
arrived in UK via France but there are few social networks in UK. A fairly pragmatic attitude to the
job market is widespread.
French Arab (caution: limited feedback)
Many are well educated, coming from a high social status. They often believe their skills and
qualifications will be transferable, hence aspirations are high – even if there is a less pragmatic
approach to the job market.
Afghani Farsi (caution: limited feedback)
They often come from a very traumatic background, but with low qualification levels. Many have
few professional aspirations due to lower levels of education, and are not always looking for work.
They have often been forced to leave their own country but are less focussed on getting on and
making a new life here – hence volumes of calls likely to be low.
o The large majority of clients spoken to were very happy with the service. There is a clear
emphasis on ‘providing a service’ rather than ‘taking a call’.
o Iranian Farsis were happy despite high expectations. Polish callers were happy despite lower
expectations. The one group who were occasionally less than satisfied were the French
Africans who had expectations that the call would lead directly to employment.
o As with the core advice line, the manner and professionalism of the advisors on the language
lines was found to be exemplary. The tone was friendly, helpful and calm, call back promises
were followed up, and there was a proactive attitude.
o Information provided was detailed, varied and matched to the nature of the query. There were
also several examples of advisors providing information ‘over and above’ the basic needs of
o In some cases, however, advisors were limited as they are only able to provide information, not
o There was some feedback about repetitive administrative processes.
For background information about each of the community groups targeted by the language lines
please see the attached document.
nformation.doc (72 .
The language lines are marketed to their constituent communities in a number of ways, with
different key messages. This includes:
• Asian communities targeted through TV, Press and outreach work with a focus on improving
English to help get ahead.
• The message aimed at the French, Farsi and Polish communities is focussed on upgrading
existing skills to UK equivalents.
• Advertising to Polish speakers has included adverts in the following press: Polish Daily; Polish
Express; Cooltura; Sunday Gazette; Prasa; Reading Chronicle (Polish edition); Now Czyas.
We have also tested advertising in Farsi and French press titles, including Les Pyramids;
Renaissance; Rangarang; Kayhan and Bazar e Hafteh.
Ufi has carried out some research to draw out a picture of the variables between regions in terms
of the numbers of people in different priority social groups, including older workers and migrant
workers. The table below and the map overleaf show some of the main regional differences.
NE NW Y&H EMids WMids East London SE SW Wales Scotland N. Ireland
Migrant workers (tho) 11,100 48,900 36,600 38,500 41,700 52,800 235,600 79,900 33,700 16,400 41,400 16,300
Migrant workers (%) 1.7 7.5 5.6 5.9 6.4 8.1 36.1 12.2 5.2 2.5 6.3 2.5
National Insurance Recording System 2006
Disabled people (tho) 381,000 937,000 638,000 484,000 646,000 580,000 835,000 814,000 571,000 406,000 631,000 200,000
Disabled people (%) 24.2 22.2 20.6 18.6 19.9 17.2 17.2 16.3 19.1 23.0 19.9 19.4
Labour Force Survey 2001
Older workers 50-69 (tho) 571,268 1,502,976 1,097,858 943,154 1,175,977 1,218,424 1,264,548 1,774,774 1,165,002 676,571
Older workers 50-69 (%) 22.7 22.3 22.1 22.6 22.3 22.6 17.6 22.2 23.6 23.3
National Statistics 2001 Census, NOMIS
Lone parents (tho) 129,668 356,387 223,203 171,650 246,634 202,002 401,889 297,149 188,717 145,996
Lone parents (%) 5.5 15.1 9.4 7.3 10.4 8.5 17 12.6 8 6.2
National Statistics 2001 Census, NOMIS
Crime rates (tho) 250,695 751,262 576,444 432,129 510,345 458,728 929,752 746,009 438,031 258,473
Crime rates (%) 4.9 14.7 11.3 8.5 10.0 9.0 18.3 14.6 8.6 5.1
Home Office 2006/07
The North East has extremely low numbers of migrant workers with only 1.7% of all UK migrants
residing there compared to a high of 36.1% in London. The North East has an average number of
older people (and this is fairly uniform across the UK). It has the second lowest proportion of lone
parents in the whole of the UK and the second lowest overall regional crime rate.
The North West has 48,900 migrant workers, proportionally the third highest percentage in the
UK. There are also higher than average numbers of disabled people in this region with 22.2% of all
disabled people residing here. There are also very high numbers of lone parents.
Yorkshire and Humber, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, the South East, the South
West and the East are fairly average regions in terms of priority groups numbers in relation to total
population size. None of these regions have higher than average numbers of migrant workers,
disabled people, older workers, lone parents or offending behaviour, with the exception of the
South West which has the largest of proportion of older people.
London, as might be expected has the highest proportion of migrant workers in the UK with 36.1%
of all migrants in the UK residing in the region. London also has the highest proportion of all lone
parents in the UK and the highest crime rate in the UK.
Using technology to improve social cohesion
Ufi was established to use technology to create demand for and deliver skills and learning to
adults. We consider that this is particularly relevant to migrants who can study at their own pace
and in their own time. The University of Wolverhampton and QIA recently carried out some
research to investigate learndirect’s supported e-learning pedagogy. Today it is generally
accepted that blended learning; using a mixture of online and traditional learning and support is the
best way to deliver learning. In the future, flexibility and personalisation will become ever more
‘At learndirect, a great deal of emphasis is placed on personalising programmes and learning at
the point of entry. Effective centres establish this at induction and it is continued throughout the
learner’s journey with learndirect and beyond. The ways in which personalisation is effected
varies as the learner moves along this journey. e-learning systems that engage learners with
complex needs and problematic learning histories need to consider the key points at which
personalisation is required and the most suitable ways to provide it. This is a key factor in ensuring
retention, achievement and progression to further learning or employment. An effective system of
using trained teachers in unison with learning facilitators was evidenced in the way that learndirect
uses level 4 trained Skills for Life tutors. This was effectively a triage system where those learners
or tasks that required high skills input were addressed by level 4 specialists whilst those that didn’t
require specialist input were assigned regular tutors. In this way, the resources available for
learning were managed more effectively.’ 15 Not only will more personalisation be required in
future, but there will be many more learners and the sector workforce is not currently set up to
support this. The learndirect model can be scaled up through a well-managed blend of
technology and people.’
‘One of the attractions of learndirect provision is the ‘private’ nature of learning and removal of the
fear of failure. Feedback is given on materials and tasks rather than learner performance and
learners are allowed to repeat tasks at their own pace. This encourages self-regulation, control
and reward in the learner. Many learndirect learners on lower level courses have had negative
prior experiences of learning and are easily discouraged. The importance in overcoming this of the
support given by tutors at induction and during the course, facilitated by the Learner Support
Environment, cannot be overemphasised.’ 16 The challenge ahead of us in the UK is to bring
people back into the learning system who have not engaged with it for some time. The flexibility
and ‘privacy’ afforded by e-learning programmes such as learndirect can overcome barriers to
Technology has developed quickly and whilst learndirect currently has a successful model of
learner engagement, development and achievement, ‘it uses an ‘old’ technological model and is
dependent on physical centres and a predominantly face to face model of support and tutor to
learner relationships. This is because it is founded on the asynchronous learning model which
tends to dominate the e-learning ‘system’. The movement towards providing more opportunities
for synchronous engagement is not only being created by the ‘push’ of the informal learning
experiences of a new generation of e-learners, but also by the ‘pull’ of its potential value in
providing enhanced support and motivation. Peer to peer collaboration and support could be
facilitated by greater use of developments such as Web 2.0 technology and social networking
‘As we look to the future, learning systems need to recognise the enduring reality of the digital
divide and cater for a wide range of users along the digital inclusion continuum. For example,
there will be ‘digital natives’ 17 who might lack competence with conventional software but can
manipulate a games console at lightning speed. There will also be older people who want to
function in the digital world but may never have switched on a machine. This has implications not
only for methodologies and engagement strategies, but also for platform choices. Learning
systems are largely PC-based currently but future systems are likely to be mobile and employ
‘Learning systems should take every opportunity to accredit learners’ engagement using an
incremental or formative framework that captures the process of learning as well as a summative
framework to assess the products of learning. In addition, the learndirect evaluation indicated an
interest in allowing learners to achieve established, nationally recognised qualifications such as
those accredited by the Open College Network (OCN). In general, learning systems need to be
more open to adopting flexible accreditation frameworks more widely.’
Ufi is investigating a wide range of new technologies for use in the delivery and support of learning
advice and delivery. These range from producing peer support functionality in learndirect careers
service to considering alternative ways of delivering learndirect skills and qualifications and
business and learner support.
Lessons and challenges for the system from the evaluation of learndirect pedagogy and materials’ QIA 2007
Lessons and challenges for the system from the evaluation of learndirect pedagogy and materials’ QIA 2007
Prensky, M (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9, 5, 1-6
The Government has already demonstrated its increasing commitment to regional and local
devolution through the restructure of its agencies. At Ufi we are now actively building referral
partnerships with organisations such as the Shaw Trust, Working Links, Reed in Partnership and
the Citizens’ Advice Bureau particularly to serve the needs of socially excluded groups who are
also those most likely to have no or low qualifications. At the heart of this ambition is the
requirement to offer a service which is more personalised to an individual’s needs.
Finally, we have suggested some areas where the lifelong learning agenda could be brought more
in line with the social cohesion agenda which includes the migrant and minority and black ethnic
communities referred to throughout this response:
1. Focus efforts on deprived communities where impact is greatest – review provision in
most deprived super output areas
• Need to be clear progression routes and strong provider networks in every deprived
• Consider network of Community Champions (along lines of Union Learning Reps) to
engage people in most deprived areas.
2. Build the capacity and capability of learning providers, particularly in the voluntary and
community sector to support groups with specific needs.
• Lasting change will only happen if grassroots organisations have the capability to
improve their organisations’ effectiveness. Particular areas to strengthen include:
marketing, partnership working, management of volunteers, strategic thinking.
• The Office of the Third Sector (OTS) is leading on capacity building initiatives for the
voluntary and community sector. So far little impact on education providers. Involve
OTS in development of informal learning proposals.
3. Develop a volunteering strategy for community learning.
• Volunteers key to reaching disengaged – more thought about how they can be used
for community outreach activities.
• Volunteers essential to community learning workforce. Much more to be done to
upskill volunteers and potentially lead to Level 2 quals – often ‘home grown’ and
have been through adult learning route.
• Little knowledge of contribution of volunteers within adult learning. More work to be
done to quantify their contribution – large scale national volunteering in learning
• Better links with national volunteering initiatives to encourage socially excluded to
• Smarter use of volunteers would free up staff time to focus on capacity building.
4. Encourage an action research approach by learning providers so that they are better
able to measure the social and economic impact of their work.
• Evidence tends to be anecdotal/case study driven – need methods to get
quantitative as well as qualitative research. Better education for VCS about
importance/impact of collecting data and demonstrating outputs/outcomes.
• Example of UK online centres Social Impact Demonstrators:
Please note that where Ufi case studies are used reference must be made to learndirect or UK
online centres as appropriate. As the subjects of the case studies have not given permission for
their contact details to be shared, any request for further information must be directed to Carrie
For further information please contact:
Sarah Jane Smalley
Tel: 0114 291 5572/07899 064 176