ACL Essex’s New Year Skills Challenge

Adult education learning provider, ACL Essex, is setting a New Year skills challenge to encourage the people of Essex to boost their skills and gain Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications to help improve their career opportunities.

A recent ONS survey¹ revealed that there are over 40,000 working age residents in Essex who have not gained a grade C pass or above at GCSE and an estimated 40% of the working age Essex population who have not gained a Level 3 (equivalent to A Level) qualification.

ACL Essex is on a mission to help residents learn new skills to progress their career and gain qualifications required for employment and Higher Education entry. Launching now are a series of free English, Maths and Digital courses aimed at adult learners looking to pick up essential skills as well as fully funded level 2 and 3 courses that could open up new career pathways for individuals. The courses are taught online as well as  in ACL’s nine centres across Essex, with weekly tutorials and all-round support from a team of dedicated tutors. The qualifications could be free-of-charge for learners who have not previously gained the equivalent level qualification. 

Starting this January are over 1000 new courses available via ACL Essex’s network of adult community centres and online. Adult learners looking to gain new skills, or advance their careers, can sign up to IT and digital programmes, as well as accounting, business, hairdressing, beauty, science, social science, computer science, early years and education, leadership and management, and health and social care courses.

Leading ACL Essex is Katherine Burns, Principal, who is passionate about providing the people of Essex with the very best qualifications to enhance their job opportunities. She says: “The New Year is a great time to reflect and set ourselves goals for the year to come. We’re here to help people upskill and gain the necessary qualifications they need to move their careers forward.”

She continued: “Many people across the county have had to switch job or retrain during the pandemic. We’re here to help everyone get a foot on the career ladder, grades to get into Higher Education, or learn fresh skills to start a new career pathway.”

As well as providing courses to help residents upskill and retrain, ACL Essex also offers a raft of mental health and wellbeing programmes, and courses to support families’ wellbeing and children’s development. There’s also supported learning programmes for people with learning difficulties that help to improve and develop employability skills, creative learning, and health and wellbeing.

In addition to the wide range of qualifications and skills, ACL Essex offer apprenticeships and professional learning programmes for both currently employed and those seeking employment.

Prospective learners can view all courses on the website, as well pick up a copy of the 2022 ACL course guide from ACL centres, job centres and libraries across Essex.

To discover more, visit

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