Headlines: March 30th, 2010

A survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that over a third of those working in the public sector haven’t learnt a new activity or hobby, in the past 12 months. Eight per cent haven’t read a book for pleasure in this period.

The findings come as the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council becomes the latest organisation to open up spaces for The Learning Revolution, with new opportunities planned around the country for accessible, affordable learning.

Ben Fletcher, Occupational and Health Psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire said: “Just under a fifth of people working for the government say they aren’t interested in learning a new skill, so the big barriers are likely to be around access. People really grow from informal learning, both personally and professionally. This research reveals that we now need to take the next step – do something different and break the habit of inertia that prevents us from getting more from our lives and gives something back to society too.”

The Learning Revolution, launched by the BIS last year, seeks to offer adults the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge further through informal adult learning, allowing them to make the most of their spare time. The Government is urging public, private and voluntary sector organisations to open their spaces for informal learning. Kevin Brennan, Minister for Further Education and Skills, said: “Informal learning keeps people mentally and physically active, and is also great for meeting others and making friends.

He added: “Offices, libraries, pubs and galleries could all provide free or low cost meeting places either occasionally or on a regular basis. We want to see even more spaces opened up to help create an ‘open space’ movement that can benefit everyone.”