A network for anyone with an interest in
adult education and mental health

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Learner involvement statement

Learner voice and NIACE

NIACE has a long track record of supporting Learner Voice. We undertake a wide range of advocacy, research and development work to improve policy makers', providers' and practitioners' understanding of the needs, interests and concerns of learners and potential learners. Much of this work focuses on engaging with adults from groups and communities that have been most excluded from learning.

Our work includes:

  • Planning and running national policy consultations with learners
  • Co-ordinating Adult Learners' Week
  • Researching barriers and motivations to learning for different learner groups
  • Supporting the implementation of learner voice initiatives
  • Developing materials and resources to support learner voice practice.

NIACE has a formal Learner Involvement Policy implementation which ensures that both our internal processes and outward-facing activities support and enhance learner voice. A Learner Voice Group from across NIACE, oversees all work in this area and promotes effective knowledge-sharing across the organization to build our expertise. We have memoranda of understanding with the National Union of Students and the TUC, and co-ordinate a national network of around 400 adult learners.

Source: http://www.niace.org.uk/current-work/area/learner-voice#section2


The MHFE  e-project and learner involvement


For the former NIACE/LSC/ISCRI Mental Health Partnership Programme and now the MHFE e-project, learner involvement explicitly includes all people who have experience of mental health difficulties who may be past, present, or future learners in further education learning and skills and/or their carers. 

We have sought to ensure that learner involvement is both a principle and a way of working for us that underpins what we do and how we do it. We are constantly learning how we can better involve and co-produce more of what we do with different learners/people who use mental health services and to recognise and reward their contributions appropriately.

We are committed to working with partner agencies at a national an local level to develop ways of involving people holistically -not service by service but in terms of people's experiences, the barriers they may experience  to participation and their recovery journeys. 

We welcome the fact that many learners/people who use mental health services who wish to become involved may also be current or future employees in the further education and other sectors and our mental health network members are invited to declare  to us through ourr monitoring their own experiences of mental health difficulties and are pleased that so many people feel able to do so.

Practical examples of involvement in our work are evidenced in the many and varied contributions that learners/people who use mental health services choose to make  to our work, for example:

  • As members of our regional mental health networks
  • As members of the national management group for the former partnership programme and more recently as members of the national advisory group for the MHFE e-project
  • As members of national and regional project advisory groups and delivery teams
  • As co-authors of resources and written materials (such as this website)
  • By contributing their artwork, creative writing and photography
  • As contributors to our discussion forums
  • As co-trainers in our mental health training programme
  • By sharing their personal stories in order to help workers across sectors and agencies to improve services
  • As colleagues and friends in our day to day work
  • As members of a community of individuals and organisations who care about tackling the inequalities that people with mental health difficulties can experience in society and who, when they learn of our area of work, share a personal story, go that extra mile, or tell someone else about our work 


(cb/January 2011)