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Community learning: how adult education benefits people and places

Our guests are two powerful advocates for lifelong learning: Dr Sue Pember CBE, Policy Director for HOLEX, and Simon Parkinson, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Workers Educational Association. Through their work, they have seen countless examples of how adult education positively impacts lives and communities.

In this conversation, Simon and Dr Sue put forward a passionate case for adult education deserving more recognition and more support from policymakers.

About Dr Sue Pember CBE

Dr Sue started her career as a teacher and is one of the few people in the FE sector who has had senior leadership roles in colleges, local authorities and government. Dr Sue is now the Policy Director for HOLEX, the professional body for adult education services, centres and institutions. Her work concentrates on ensuring the voice of adult learners is heard and she is a keen advocate of lifelong learning.

About Simon Parkinson

Simon Parkinson is the Chief Executive and General Secretary of the WEA – Adult Learning, Within Reach, the leading adult education charity.

Simon joined the WEA from Co-operative College where he was Principal and CEO for four years and previously worked for 19 years at the Royal Mencap Society, including as Director of Education, Learning and Work.

Passionate about education and its ability to empower and inspire, Simon believes that through working together, individuals can have a hugely positive impact on their own lives and the wider community.



  • Download the transcript for this episode here.