Critically evaluate the contribution of learning to economic growth and community regeneration

Teachers have a great impact in communities economic growth and regeneration, it is vital for us to ‘aim to ensure that people living in these communities are given opportunities to develop skills, confidence and resources to take advantage of the opportunities open to them’ (Scottish Centre for Regeneration, 2009). I contribute to the economic growth and community regeneration in two ways. I have chosen to increase the academic level of a Psychology class in a bid to get more students to enrol onto the GCSE psychology course next year (as discussed in module 6).

By doing this it will increase retention and create more skilled learners who will go on to obtain better jobs. By ‘increasing people’s aspirations and awareness of the value of skills to them’ (Leitch Review of Skills Final Report, 2006) it creates more motivated learners who feel more confident about learning. This initiative is actively trying to increase the attainment this reinforces the Leitch reviews new ambition to achieve world class skills of ‘exceeding 90 per cent of the adult population qualified to at least Level 2’ (Leitch Review of Skills Final Report, 2006).

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I also am part of a program designed by the Football Association (FA), this new initiative called ‘Heading for Success’. It involves ‘Top Premier League and Football League clubs are teaming up with the Government on to sign up fans wanting to improve their literacy, language or numeracy skills’ (Department for Innovations, Universities ; Skills, 2009). The program is based at Notts County Football Club and the lessons are every Saturday from 12 – 3.

At Notts County FC we have advertised this provision in areas where unemployment is high, community centres and in colleges. We have offered an incentive for people to join us; if they attend the full session they will be able to watch the football game at 3 for free. The project has attracted adults of different ages and abilities and gives them an opportunity to improve their skills; many of these learners have been unemployed for some time and have very little confidence.

Most of the learners are working just below level 1 and have additional needs and learning difficulties, the structure of the course was designed to accommodate this cohort of learners. The program has been very successful and has increased the learner’s confidence with numeracy and literacy; it has even helped a learner gain employment, due to their commitment and progress. Unemployment in Nottingham is increasing as the number of people in the city of Nottingham claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance reached 10,912 in February 2009, which is the highest since March 1999 (Nottingham City Council, 2009).

Giving young people the skills and opportunity to gain employment will help reduce the rate of unemployment, which is vital when considering the current economic climate and the consequent lack of job security among many of the employed. This initiative links well with the aim of Community Learning and Development whose objective is to ‘help individuals and groups in communities tackle real issues in their lives through community action and community based learning’ (Scottish Centre for Regeneration, 2009).

For some of these learners this program has re-engaged them into education as they have not been involved in any for a long time, this re-engagement with motivation from the tutors gives the learners a new focus. ‘For people to consider improving their skills, they need to be aware of and motivated by the benefits of doing so. They must see a link between skills development and achieving their own personal ambitions’ (Leitch Review of Skills Final Report, 2006).

This has also involved the parents who buy tickets to join the learners at the end of the session to watch the football match; this helps the football club financially as they are currently close to administration. The football club is a prominent part in many people’s lives and by increasing the revenue and helping secure its future it will continue to provide jobs and learning opportunities to the community. At Heading for Success we do not just help the learners become more employable, we help them become more capable with dealing with everyday situations such as shopping in the supermarket and being able to budget.

I feel that this program has successfully achieved community-based adult learning; it has raised the importance of learning to the community and involved many different groups. However I feel that it does not appeal to women as much as men, this issue is being looked at and ideas of using the same format in conjunction with cinemas and bowling alleys are being considered. This way it would attract a more diverse group of learners and more females.