LLL in Scotland

LLL in Scotland

scotland mapEven if similar concepts to Adult Education were in place in the UK in the 1920’s, the landmark on LLL policies in the UK is the Alexander Report (1975), which set the bases for Adult Education in terms of leisure courses for adults with the objectives of personal fulfilment, active citizenship and social inclusion. It was regarded as a non-vocational form of education for self-fulfilment motivation.

Compared to the rest of the UK, Scotland was comparatively slower in developing LLL policies. Adult Education was basically a voluntary social movement and it was not until the late 1990’s that Scotland got its first LLL policy document, as education was one of the competences devolved to Scotland. This first LLL Scottish policy document entitled “Opportunity Scotland” (Scottish Office, 1998) set a clear difference with previous LLL policy documents in the UK: it had a clear orientation for work-based learning for the whole population in order to improve competitiveness.

This initial LLL policy document was followed by the “Life through Learning: Learning through Life” (The Scottish Government, 2003), which widened the previous idea of competitiveness and emphasised the need of providing educational opportunities to people to facilitate their participation in the economic, social and civic life. Following this policy, in 2006 a consultation process on LLL focused on employers’ engagement, information and guidance to strengthen the links between education and learning and the labour market.

The Scottish emphasis in work-based skills soon gave as a result the first skills policy document in Scotland: “Skills for Scotland. A Lifelong Strategy” (The Scottish Government, 2007), which also widened the targeted group in terms of age, including early ages in life. The focus on employability remained as in previous LLL policy documents, although stressing the need to compete in a global economy via the provision and attainment of high-skilled jobs.  It was soon followed by the a refreshement “Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the recovery and increasing sustainable economic growth” (The Scottish Government, 2010) to address the post-crisis economic and social context.

While the responsibility for education and skills policy has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament these policies articulate with other relevant UK policiesFor example, the employment and benefits policy is reserved to the UK Government through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which liaises with the Scottish Government on the interaction with the devolved policy areas such as skills, health and childcare.

In addition to this articulation with UK policies, since 2011 all Scottish policies are framed by the ‘four pillars’ set out in the Christie report on the Future Delivery of Public Services (2011):

  1. Strategy and Effective Leadership
  2. Better Integration and Partnership Working
  3. Towards Prevention – Tackling Inequality
  4. Improving Performance

Moreover, all Scottish policies are expected to reflect the framework and principles specified in these four key objectives of the Scottish public service reform programme:

  1. Public services are built around people and communities, their needs, aspirations, capacities and skills, and work to build up their autonomy and resilience;
  2. Public service organisations work together effectively to achieve outcomes – specifically, by delivering integrated services which help to secure improvements in the quality of life, and the social and economic wellbeing, of the people and communities of Scotland;
  3. Public service organisations prioritise prevention, reduce inequalities and promote equality;
  4. All public services constantly seek to improve performance and reduce costs, and are open, transparent and accountable.
Since 2010, the main Skills and LLL policies introduced at the national level are:

This project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693167