Adult and community learning in Queensland – is there a change in the wind?

Welcome to all our members and colleagues throughout Queensland who are working in the innovative and stimulating field of adult learning and training! Lifelong Learning Council Queensland has had a productive and stimulating year raising the profile of Adult and Community Learning, Education and Training through lobbying and partnership, and by developing and launching our shared statement on adult and community learning.

Late last year the Council invited a group of Queensland based peak organizations to form a strategic coalition around a shared interest in adult learning. The purpose of this coalition was to act as an advocate to Government around the capacity and capability of adult learning provision in Queensland. Lifelong Learning Council Queensland provided leadership of a delegation of representatives from Queensland Council for Adult Literacy, Queensland Council on the Aging and Volunteering Queensland. In March we met with Rod Welford, MP, Minister for Education, Training and the Arts. The Minister’s response to this delegation was the decision to host an Adult and Community Education (ACE) Stakeholder Forum, to be held 23rd November, 2007. The Forum is hosted by the Department by invitation only.

During Adult Learners’ Week in September 2007 LLCQ and its partners released a Statement on Adult and Community Learning (see front page). This initiative is intended to add adult and community learning as a fourth arm of learning, education and training in Queensland. It is easy to comprehend the importance of schooling, higher education and vocational education which are all part of formal education. As we in the field know, while some of our learning happens in these institutions, by far the bulk of our learning happens outside of these settings.

Community providers of learning opportunities for adults in Queensland make a very diverse and significant contribution to learning, education and training. They also make major contributions to the health, social well-being and economic resilience of the whole community. Providers do this with little support and without significant recognition or acknowledgement of this field of activity. The end result is that many isolated providers work hard to do a good job with limited resources. We think its time for this to change!

The Statement has been developed through a consultation process with a number of other peak and professional associations. The aim of the Statement is to:

Create an understanding of the scope and diversity of the adult and community learning field in Queensland amongst those involved in offering learning opportunities for adults
Help the community at large to understand the field and its contribution
Help increase the connections between individuals and organisations involved in the field
Create an identity for the field
Develop a collective voice for the field
Reach out to those involved and ensure that their contribution can be enhanced
Help provide a voice to Government

If you find yourself agreeing with our Statement: Adult and Community Learning and would like to support and promote it please contact our Executive Officer, Helen Schwenke. Our goal is to have many members and colleagues throughout Queensland sign up to the Statement which will then be used as a tool for further lobbying and promotion for our field. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you all the best in your learning endeavours. Best wishes and success for 2008.

Ms Georgina Poulter, President