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Put people first: a recipe for getting adult learners into work

In this episode, we’re speaking to Jason Richards, an adult learner and winner of the New Directions Award, part of the Festival of Learning Awards 2023. After suffering brain damage and becoming homeless during the pandemic, Jason was on the brink of taking his own life. An adult education course and the employment he gained as a result restored Jason’s pride and purpose, and in his words, he “wouldn’t be here now” without the support he received.

We are also joined by The Rt Hon. the Baroness Morgan of Cotes, a former Secretary of State for Education, Chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company, and an Ambassador for the Skills and Education Group Foundation.

We look forward to your company as we conclude our focus on adult education.

About Baroness Morgan

Baroness Morgan is the former MP for Loughborough and served in the government for eight years where she held various senior Ministerial and Cabinet roles including Secretary of State for Education and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. During her time as Secretary of State for Education, she brought forward legislation that enabled college staff to go into schools to speak to students about their post-16 options. She recently became Chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company and is also Chair of the East Midlands Institute of Technology.

About Jason Richards

Jason Richards is an adult learner who won the Festival of Learning’s New Directions Award, sponsored by the Skills and Education Group, in 2023.

Jason was recovering from severe brain damage and years of homelessness when he found training opportunities and a new sense of direction through Newground Together. Jason’s success in learning led not only to an offer of work, but a new sense of purpose and the chance to reconnect with his family.


  • Download the transcript for this episode here.