Motivation for the project

Enhancing Adult Creative Training is an innovative project which aims to discover, promote and enhance good practises of teaching in non-formal subjects in the field of arts and creative activities.
The project will explore the various training methods adopted and delivered in the non- formal learning agenda, with a particular focus on engaging older learners and staff. Project partners are using creative methods to deliver non-formal and informal adult education courses throughout Europe. Through this journey of discovery the partners will assimilate the various training methods, collating resources and examples of good practise to enhance delivery in their own institutions. Partners will not only learn about good practise but will have the chance to participate in and experience different workshops at partner institutions and allow their learners to engage in these experiences allowing for direct learner involvement in application of new approaches and techniques. The project will encourage the sharing of reflective practises and methods that demonstrate good quality teaching in adult education.

The project will be working with socially excluded groups including offenders in secure units, ex-offenders, learners undertaking a addiction/ rehabilitation programme and gypsy/travelling communities. Trainers and facilitators are those working with people using non formal arts whilst exploring urban and rural cultures.

The project is also looking to explore the use of e-learning in creative informal teaching practises.

The European Union set a target for average participation in lifelong learning throughout the EU at 12.5% by 2010 for adults aged 25-64. In 2008, average participation was 9.5% (European Commission, Education and Training 2008). This project aims to address this problem by looking at the training opportunities for people wishing to work in the field of adult education and look at new techniques within the field of non-formal and informal learning to see how this approach could increase learner numbers across Europe.

Whilst there are many formal training programmes for teachers working in the field adult education delivering formal qualifications, there is limited information available on training techniques available for those delivering non-formal and informal courses. Many Adult Learning Associations and Institutions throughout Europe are employing staff and teachers who use creative, artistic methods of delivery in their daily teaching. There are various methods being used in the training of these creative arts practitioners and this project hopes to bring together some of these innovative methods and techniques being used. There is a clear need for further understanding on the methods which are suitable in the training of creative arts practitioners who wish to work in the field of adult education and lifelong learning.

This project will contribute to the work of the Knowledge System for Lifelong Learning which looks for examples of validation of non formal and informal learning. We aim to disseminate results from this project to work currently being undertaken in this research field.

The creative arts have been proven to be an effective tool to engage with new adult learners, who may not have previously engaged in any formal or informal education and especially learners from marginalized and socially excluded groups in society. There is also a clear need to address Europe's ageing population and look at not only the tools for engaging older learners but also in engaging older teachers and staff to help them improve their knowledge and competencies. The average working age in Europe is rising creating a clear need for a corresponding increase in adult learning by older workers (European Commission, Education and Training 2008). This project is acknowledging the value of the arts and sports in informal education settings and the importance in delivering effective training for teachers wishing to engage with socially excluded groups using a creative method. The creative arts are also a very effective tool in the breaking down of cultural and language barriers.

All of the partners in the project have seen a lack of funding for arts and creative industries in their own countries and have expressed a need to increase the profile of this field within the lifelong learning agenda.

In the UK, The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) have recently commented in response to the UK government's Big Society plans: "if the 'big society' vision is to become reality, adult education will have a critical role to play, encouraging and supporting the kind of active citizenship that is an essential part of healthy democracy. But to deliver that agenda, we need a viable, long-term strategy, based on a coherent, life-wide plan for education that recognises that adult education in not an optional extra but, as NIACE's founders believed, a 'permanent national necessity". Projects such as EN'ACT will help to build evidence and resources for quality of adult education teaching throughout European partners.