UK should host global “Places of Learning” contest post-Brexit, says RSA

Half of most deprived workers have had no formal training since they left school

The UK should host a new “Places of Learning” contest to replace the “European Cities of Culture” project as the UK leaves the European Union, the author of a major employment review for the Prime Minister will say.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, will say too many places, especially smaller cities and towns, have been left behind other parts of the UK.

The competition would let UK villages, towns, cities and institutions - and partnerships with other global hubs of learning - showcase their commitment to lifelong learning. This would build on the “cities of learning” projects being pioneered in the US, which the RSA is exploring. 

Previous RSA research found half of UK workers in the most deprived category have not had any formal learning or training since they left school.

In a keynote speech at adult education charity, WEA’s Annual Lecture, Mr Taylor will warn this presents a huge threat to social mobility.

Matthew Taylor will say: “Many of us have been impressed by the impact of the City of Culture process - this has, of course, been mainly on the winning candidates but losing bidders have also developed strong local cultural networks and beyond that millions of us have visited the cities or heard about their achievements. Sadly, Brexit means we are no longer candidates for the European City of Culture.

“As you would expect from the Chief Executive of an organisation with Arts in its title I am great fan of arts and culture and advocate for its wider economic and social benefits but I am also an enthusiast for learning and for its wider benefits.”

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