Centre for Learning and Life Chances

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Education, Practice & Society


The Centre for Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES) conducts research into the role of lifelong learning in promoting economic competitiveness and social cohesion and in mediating the interactions between policies in the two domains.

The research uses interdisciplinary, mixed-method and comparative approaches to address key current and emerging policy debates and to enhance capacity in the use of research evidence in the development of joined-up policy at supra-national, national and regional/sectoral levels.

Capacity-building among younger researchers will be pursued through the attachment to the LLAKES Centre of doctoral students supervised by Centre academics and through the mentoring of post-doctoral fellows in the PATHWAYS programme.

The continuing LLAKES Centre will build on the impact of its existing research and develops this research is new ways which will deliver new impacts.Impact generation activities will be strategically targeted to focus on three primary areas:

1 Skills Acquisition, Skills Outcomes and Labour Markets;
2 Comparative Analysis of Youth Transitions and Intergenerational Inequalities;
3 Social Attitudes, Social Integration and Social Cohesion.

Our primary aims are to use a range of communications and dissemination activities to attract media interest and to influence public debate, and to engage directly with stakeholders and policy makers at different levels, and in a variety ways, to influence policy and practice.

Communications activities will include:

-maintaining and updating our external website;
-issuing regular blogs and press releases on new research findings;
-maintaining publications in our LLAKES Research Paper and Policy Briefing series;
-disseminating our research through conference presentations, keynotes and invited lectures;
-and hosting LLAKES public seminars and annual conferences with academics, policy-makers and media representatives.

Policy impact will be generated by:

-identifying and engaging with new stakeholders and policy-makers through our networks, and with assistance from our International Advisory Board and its stakeholder representatives;
-presenting our work to supra-national, national and social partner policy bodies, including at OECD, European Work Foundation, BEIS, DFE and the TUC;
- responding to government policy consultations and ESRC requests for briefings on research evidence related to current policy issues;
-influencing policy through membership of key commissions and working with influential think tanks.

Planned Impact

LLAKES generates media and policy impact from its research findings through targeting policy organisations at supranational, national, regional and sectoral levels as appropriate. Our impact strategy includes:
-undertaking high quality research relevant current and emerging issues of public importance;
-identifying key stakeholders from the outset of research projects - using our networks and the expertise of our International Advisory Board - and consulting with them on the direction and policy - relevance of our research;
-working withthink tanks in areas of mutual interest to develop and disseminate policy ideas;
-releasing research findings early and in formats appropriate for different audiences, for instance through blogs, media articles and freely downloadable LLAKES Research Papers and Policy Briefings;
-commissioning journalists to write press releases of newsworthy research findings;
-holding regular public seminars and organising events with stakeholders to discuss our findings.
We also seek to engage policy-makers directly by:
-presenting findings to relevant government departments, supranational policy organisations and social partner forums;
-responding to Government policy consultations;
-seeking membership of influential policy advisory bodies.
In the future LLAKES seeks to add to its impacts in three core areas.
1 Skills and Labour Markets. LLAKES will be conducting new research which builds on its previous work on skills formation amongst younger and older adults through a project on 'Training, Skills and Skills Utilisation in Singapore' which includes comparative analysis of the effects of upper secondary education and training on skills levels and distributions across OECD countries. We anticipate extensive engagement with Singaporean policy-makers since the work is funded by, and conducted in collaboration with, a government agency (Institute of Adult Learning). The comparative research will also feed into impact generation from previous research on skills and labour markets, through our involvement in policy-making bodies such as the Skills Commission, the Labour Party's Lifelong Learning Commission and the OECD, and through ongoing collaborations with the TUC and UNISON. We are invited to present our research on skills to the Department for the Economy, N.I. in May 2019 and this will provide an opportunity to influence government policy in Northern Ireland.
2 Comparative Analysis of Intergenerational Inequalities. We plan a number of activities which will extend the geographical scope of existing impact generation in this area. The comparative research will be the focus of a LLAKES conference in London in summer 2019, bringing together an international group of academic collaborators and stakeholders to discuss the policy implications of the research. LLAKES will continue to work with influential think tanks to generate new policy ideas for reducing intergenerational inequality, and to contextualise our existing policies on housing taxation and all-age graduate taxes as appropriate for different national contexts. We will also use the extensive networks of the PATHWAYS consortium.
3 Social Attitudes, Social Integration and Social Cohesion. The research on immigration and social cohesion will engage with policy-makers in relevant UK departments (Home Office and MHCLG), as well as with political parties and think tanks. We will also seek to internationalise our impacts through our project partners in Denmark and Sweden. We will engage with international bodies which have made use of our previous research, including the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Swedish Prime Minster's Office, as well as the Equality and Human Rights Commission and will feed our research findings on values to the OECD through our representation on the Advisory Group for the OECD Global Competences Report. The research will be the focus of a conference with stakeholders in Year 3.


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