Build Blog

The importance of adult education and lifelong learning for learners who are deaf, have a stammer or have learning difficulties

Story added 28th Feb 2017


Yesterday we joined the official launch of FE Week’s #SaveOurAdultEducation campaign in the Houses of Parliament. More than 200 passionate supporters of lifelong learning attended the debate which saw powerful speeches from politicians, including apprenticeships and skills minister Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Rt Hon David Lammy MP and FE sector leaders including Sue Pember, HOLEX Director of Policy and Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the Worker’s Educational Association.

Sue Pember said in her address: ‘We need a proper cross-government adult education strategy that lasts 20 years.”

Ruth Spellman highlighted in her speech: ‘Adult Education is so important. The government needs to understand it is something that benefits the vast majority of the population.’

Following his recent adjournment debate in the House of Commons on the importance of Adult Education and a call for the return of widespread night schools, David Lammy, MP highlighted: ‘Many people across the country in their 30s and 40s can’t afford to leave their job and go to university. They need to retrain through adult education.’ 

Build Principal and CEO Mark Malcomson CBE ended the debate by thanking FE Week for highlighting such an important issue and added: ‘Let’s not forget the importance of adult education and lifelong learning for those who are deaf, stammer or have learning disabilities.’

At Build, we believe that everyone has right to learn and improve themselves. Adult education is vital to any society and this has been well documented – for economic and social reasons, but also individually for people’s health and wellbeing. In addition to that, we are all living and working for much longer. The skills we left school, college or university with won’t sustain us through this extended working life.  Life is more stressful and can be isolated – in a digital world – and adult education has the wonderful ability to give people opportunities to find their passion and interests to relieve stress, find their creative side and, of course, come together with people from different walks of life.

Our offer is extensive, with almost 5,000 short daytime, evening and weekend courses. It has grown to reflect market demand and meet the needs of a diverse London population. Many courses are specifically targeted to either help people gain employment, to help people develop skills that will further their career and to support London businesses by providing courses that address known skills gaps.


Deaf Education at Build

We are one of the country’s leading adult Deaf Education facilities. Not only do we support many deaf students developing skills in English, Maths and Computing, we also support many of those who work with deaf adults and across the deaf community. 

Learn about Deaf Education programme at: 


Speech Therapy at Build

Unique to Build, our Speech Therapy and Acquired Hearing Loss areas have national and international reputations as centres of excellence. We specialise in stammering therapy and supporting people who stammer and have other speech issues to become more confident in all aspects of their lives, especially work. 

Learn about our Speech Therapy courses at:


Courses for people with learning disabilities

Build is a pioneer in education for students with learning disabilities working alongside 130 partner organisations, and we are well-known and respected by partner agencies. Students with learning difficulties at Build now have opportunities for education that would have been unthinkable only 20 years ago. 

Learn about our courses for people with learning disabilities:


Usman Choudhry Winner of Adult Learners’ Week Regional Individual Award & National Adult Learning Ambassador

“I first enrolled on a Build stammering course in 1985. Using the approaches I learnt, I had a successful job interview at the Bank of England, where I still work. Since attending courses in areas such as assertiveness and public speaking, I have helped set up a public speaking group aimed at stammerers, arranged an awareness raising course for staff at the Bank, raised money for the British Stammering Association, and helped organise their London open day in 2012. With the help of my fellow Build students, we have given people who stammer the confidence to speak out and be heard.” 


Since the start of the year, there has been considerable political interest in the importance of adult education, with debates like this staged, parliamentary questions asked and new Government policies announced (Read our blog about the Industrial Strategy) that relate to this important issue. We will continue to work with parliamentarians, government departments and key stakeholders to highlight the importance of adult education and lifelong learning and call for a National adult education strategy which is robust, financially viable and will deliver its objectives.


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