Notes of the Impact Forum Scotland



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Notes of the Impact Forum Scotland

Monday 28th September 2015

9.30am – 12.30pm

Carrickvale Community Centre, Edinburgh
1. Present: Emma Whitelock (LEAD), Jackie Howie (Learning Link Scotland), Fiona Boucher (SLP), Tracy Waddell (SLP), Lorraine Casey (NIACE), Jan Eldred (NIACE), Anne Kerr (BLES) Lynne Wishart (BLES), Anne Kivlin and Cath Hamilton (Education Scotland)
2. Apologies: Joyce Black NIACE, Christine Mulligan SDS, Julia Holmes BIG Lottery, Neil Rennick Justice Division, Mhairi Harrington College Principals Group, Linda McTavish Regional College LEAD, Mike Osborne University of Glasgow, Lyn Tett University of Edinburgh, Ian Leith SLP, Alan Inglis Colleges Scotland, Maureen Petrie FC, Jim Gallagher Centre for Lifelong Learning, John Field University of Stirling, Bob Christie SBC, Fiona Malcolm Voluntary Sector Unit Scottish Government. Margaret Allan (National Learners’ Forum), Chris Fairgreave (National Learners’ Forum)
This meeting had been rescheduled to enable ES to host an event to mark International Adult Literacy Day.
3. Update of the EU Adult Learning Agenda
Jan gave an oversight and update to the EU Agenda for Adult Learning and the purpose of the work that the Commission has agreed for the UK Impact Forums. After today’s Impact Forum and October’s conference in Belfast this completes the two-year stage of the EU Agenda. Jan will forward details of the future forums over the next two years when finalised. There will also be a report from the London conference in September, which she will circulate.

4. Employability Skills for Young Unemployed Adults – Lorraine Casey NIACE
Lorraine presented her paper on work on employability skills for young unemployed adults that NIACE is undertaking as the UK Coordinator. The pilot project worked with a range of projects in England, Scotland and Wales and young people who were recruited and trained to carry out face-to-face research interviews with 30 local employers. The purpose of the interviews was to identify what an ‘employable young person’ looks like from an employer’s perspective. Lorraine presented some of the findings and directed the forum to the What Employers Want – website- www.whatemployerswant.org

(IF Ref Paper 1)


She asked the forum 3 questions


  • How can we promote the approach developed through the ‘employability skills for unemployed young adults project’ to enable these young people to develop the skills they need, to move them closer to employment?

  • Which organisations does NIACE need to engage/work with?

  • What challenges do such organisations face and how can we support them to overcome them and secure impact from the approach that we have developed?

The forum members agreed that these questions could best be served by asking a small select group to gather information and report back.


5. BLES Training, West Lothian - Lynne Wishart
Lynne presented the BLES Training project, which is a voluntary charitable organisation that delivers a dedicated training programme for 16 to 18 year old young people in West Lothian. It provides support and training in core, personal, life, employability and occupational skills, with the opportunity to gain a SCQF qualification. It has a clear commitment to help progress all young people to access occupational skills and a job.
Lynne also highlighted the positive connections across West Lothian that BLES has developed, allowing further opportunities for development. (IF3 Ref Paper 2)


  1. Linking Education And Disability (LEAD) – Emma Whitelock

Lead Scotland, (Specialists in Linking Education and Disability), is a voluntary organisation set up to widen access to learning for disabled young people and adults and carers across Scotland. Emma presented three programmes that LEAD Scotland are involved in making a difference for young disabled people and employability. Emma emphasised that young disabled people are disproportionally disadvantaged in their search for work and the importance of LEAD Scotland in developing programmes to combat this disadvantage.

(IF3 Ref Paper3)



  1. Discussion

A wide-ranging discussion took place after the presentations. It was acknowledged that on leaving school, young people had a starting point to build on their confidence through a range of organisations such as BLES and LEAD, but the question is - do we have enough evidence on the softer skills for funders? Jan will send links on work in this area with McDonalds, the link is:  <http://backingsoftskills.co.uk/>


The forum members raised questions about whether Education Scotland could conduct an Aspect review on soft skills and Cath will raise this with the team at ES.
The group discussed how best to build a sustained picture of the impact of adult learning and suggested that perhaps some investment in a national database of impact case studies, Cath Hamilton suggested that perhaps Strategic Forum on Adult Learning could support something like this. It was then agreed that perhaps positive messages coming from the Scottish Government to other funders about the importance of adult learning to its policy drive might help bring much needed additional resources to adult learning. There were some suggestions that perhaps a blog could be set up to allow guest bloggers to describe their impact stories and highlight the diversity and range of activities.


  1. Information sharing was part of the previous discussion and not recorded.




  1. AOB-None.


10. Date of Next meeting - TBA .






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