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Key Target Groups

Working Inside Northern Ireland

The WEA has identified groups within our society that it will make special efforts to reach.

Non-participating Men

Research has shown that Northern Ireland has the lowest uptake of adult education in the UK and 24% of adults have only the most basic literacy standards.

Only 15% of the WEA’s students are men showing that they are a very hard target group to reach. Therefore we make special efforts to ensure that their needs are met.


Excluded Women

The provision of appropriate learning opportunities is essential in tackling women’s exclusion from public life. The WEA provide targeted programmes that build the levels of skills and confidence that women require to enter public life. Income inequality remains a key issue and the WEA continue to provide women-friendly courses that allow them to access better paid employment.

Older People

With demographic changes a greater percentage of the population is over 60 than ever before. It is important that lifelong learning is for the whole of life. The WEA makes provision for older people and lobbies to ensure that their right to learning is recognised and resourced.

Community Groups

Even with the huge increases in community development of recent years there are still many areas and interest groups that are lagging behind in their ability to organise and access resources. Those communities with a weak infrastructure require training and support that makes a practical difference. A focus for the WEA’s capacity building programmes is on developing collaborative skills that will assist organisations in achieving sustainability.

Low-Paid Workers

With lower levels of unemployment, those who are educationally disadvantaged are now more likely to be in work, albeit low-paid work. A key target group for the WEA are those in low-paid jobs who have low levels of educational attainment. This requires a much greater emphasis on workplace education.


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