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Skills people really want

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UK is a nation of wannabe chefs and musicians. Cooking and baking tops list of skills that the UK would most lovetolearn; Playing a musical instrument and learning a language come second and third; We are a nation of creative types – with art, dance and writing featuring highly. 

In a survey to launch the Festival of Learning, which takes place from 1 May, culminating in Adult Learners’ Week on 13 – 19 June, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) found that we are a nation of wannabe chefs and musicians. Stealing the top spot, the survey revealed that 39 percent of us would love to be better cooks and bakers, with learning an instrument coming in at second place among the skills we would love to learn (23 percent).

The top 10 skills people would love to learn include:

Cooking and baking (39 percent)

Playing a musical instrument (23 percent)

Learning a language or languages (21 percent)

Singing (17 percent)

Photography (15 percent)

Dance (13 percent)

DIY (13 percent)

Art (11 percent)

Gardening (11 percent)

Creative Writing (11 percent)

Half (50 percent) of the respondents polled said they would be prepared to take up a course to enable them to improve their skills in the areas that they would love to learn, with six out of ten (60 percent) 25 to 34 year olds interested in taking up a course. The Festival of Learning is led by NIACE and brings together the wider education and skills community, including employers, charities, professional bodies and government departments to celebrate and promote the many learning opportunities available.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said: “This shows how much we all want to learn new things, it's a natural part of who we are but it also shows that people need help to take steps to find where and how to learn. That’s why initiatives like the Festival of Learning are so important to encourage people to take the leap and go for it, whatever their age or level of education. All of the top skills people would love to learn most are about people expressing themselves, who they are, what they stand for. The confidence learning those skills brings are crucial for everyone in life and in work. That's why we will continue to campaign for lifelong learning to be truly accessible for everyone.”

Rachel Khoo, chef and supporter of the Festival of Learning said, “The best thing about cooking is anyone can do it and you don't need a big space or all the latest gadgets. Once you've learnt the basics, you won't look back… it's never too late to get cooking!” Paul McManus, chief executive Music for All, said: “We know that making music enriches and changes lives. You are never too old to start to learn (or return to playing) an instrument and at Music for All, we hope that the Festival of Learning encourages you to have a try.” Festival of Learning supporter, Joe Pasquale, comedian, actor and television presenter, said: “I always wanted to learn more but was worried I was too old. However, I have just passed my degree in Natural Sciences with the Open University. I loved it – my only regret is not doing it earlier! Don’t waste time thinking about it, get to some Festival of Learning events, find the right course and then see how much you enjoy it too.”

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