Informal Adult and Community Learning
       Learning and skills

For young people and adults not in compulsory education (usually 19+). Family learning is only available for parents or carers and their children.

Opportunities for learning learning for its own sake rather than to get a qualification. It covers a wide spectrum of activities from personal development through to family learning, community development and employability.  The Government helps to subsidise and fund personal and community development learning; family literacy, language and numeracy; wider family learning and Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities (NLDC).  Local authorities and voluntary and community organisations usually deliver this learning but some colleges and schools also run programmes. Formal First Steps, short courses at entry level or level 1 including digital life skills and basic IT, are offered by providers as a stepping stone to community programmes or Foundation Learning.  Up to 75% of NLDC funding can be used to support skills for jobs; other learning may lead to the development of employability skills and gaining vocational qualifications.


Contact the local library or local council and ask for adult education courses or look out for information on local notice boards.  The Next Step directory may include some courses https://nextstep.direct.gov.uk   or call 0800-100 900, 8am-10pm, 7 days.


  • The ‘You can do it’ leaflet can help people with mental health conditions think about the benefits of learning and skills.  ‘Should I say?’ supports people to decide whether to declare a mental health condition at enrolment or during their course.  Download leaflets here XXXX
  • Declaration of a mental health problems triggers learning support, extra funding to meet additional learning needs. 
  • The Government expects providers to charge for some informal adult learning so not all courses will be free.
  • The Government makes explicit links between individual and community wellbeing and participation in informal adult learning.  It has used mental health and wellbeing as a criteria for bidding for funds from the Adult and Community Learning Fund: http://www.niace.org.uk/adultandcommunitylearningfund

Information correct as of 01-May-2011

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