A YouGov survey of 2,109 GB adults commissioned by distance learning provider Oxford Open Learning Trust suggests the biggest barrier to British adults continuing their education is cost. From their results, more than a third (35 per cent) say they’re unable to afford to study, while almost a fifth (19 per cent) say they don’t have time.
The study also found that although 69 per cent of respondents said they could be motivated to learn for any type of new qualification – from GCSEs to PHDs and industry certificates – only just over a quarter of Brits (27 per cent) are likely to actually do so. Almost half of millennials (25-34 year olds) say they are likely to consider studying for a new qualification in the future.
The other barriers that Brits said most commonly stop them studying are that they don’t have the time to devote to it (19 per cent) and feeling that another qualification would be unnecessary because they feel they are educated enough (18 per cent). As well as respondents also saying that they lack the motivation to study (17 per cent), the same number also said they lack the energy. Many Brits also commented that they deem themselves too old.
The research also revealed that many British adults would be happy to continue learning if they felt they could. Receiving a boost to their pay packet is only the third most common incentive, agreed by three in ten (30 per cent) of Brits , whereas 42 per cent would be more likely to take a course simply out of their own general interest in the subject.
The five most common issues that stop adults continuing with education in the future are:
1. Lack of affordability (35 per cent)
2. Time constraints (19 per cent)
3. Not needing any further qualifications (18 per cent)
4. Lack of motivation (17 per cent)
5. Lack of energy (17 per cent)
Greg Smith, head of operations at Oxford Open Learning Trust, said: “The fact that so many would like to study further but don’t feel they can points to a lot of misconceptions that people have about adult education.
“For those who think they’re too old, adult learning isn’t only about furthering a career - it’s also extremely beneficial in terms of mental health. There’s evidence to show that, not only does keeping the brain active combat depression and anxiety, but also helps prevent dementia in later life and boosts confidence.”
Smith adds: “Studying for a new qualification with a distance learning course is also vastly different to a classroom, and can be spread over a longer period to fit in with your current work or lifestyle.
“The initial cost is often far outweighed by the benefits of gaining a new qualification, through an increase in pay, a promotion or a career change.”
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