Thursday 16 November
4:30pm - 5:30pm
In-person and online

Getting adults learning: How do we achieve systemic change?

In conversation with Torsten Bell, Stephen Evans and Rebecca Garrod-Waters.

Torsten Bell

CEO, Resolution Foundation

Stephen Evans

CEO, Learning and Work Institute


CEO, Ufi VocTech Trust

Re-watch the conversation


Over the last 15 years economic growth has been erratic and productivity growth has flat lined. Adult participation in learning is declining, particularly for those furthest from learning, while government and employer investment in adult training is also falling. Our economy and labour market are experiencing rapid changes, where those who have already been left behind face fewer opportunities in the UKs transitioning economy.

The solution to these challenges lies in a better skilled workforce. This means ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop skills for work throughout their lives, building a future economy and labour market where people aren’t just playing catch up but have the chance to thrive in new industries and sectors.

But how do we do it?
How do we get policy makers and employers to invest in skills?
How do we ensure that opportunities for learning are accessible to those furthest from it?
How should we change the system?
Ultimately, how do we get more adults learning?

On Thursday 16th November, Rebecca Garrod-Waters, CEO of Ufi VocTech Trust, joined Stephen Evans, CEO of Learning and Work Institute, and Torsten Bell, CEO of Resolution Foundation, for a discussion about how we can achieve the systemic change necessary to get more adults learning.


Ufi’s VocTech Challenge: Skills for an Economy in Transition is accelerating the adoption and deployment of technology to help every adult in the UK get the skills they need to participate and benefit from our transitioning economy. In their White Paper, Ufi set out a bold and ambitious £3m programme of work to create a step-change in adult participation in learning.

Learning and Work Institute has been at the forefront of shaping thinking and policy around lifelong learning, employment, and inclusion for many years. They research what works, influence policy, develop new ways of thinking, and help implement new approaches.

The Resolution Foundation’s Economy2030 Inquiry has led a national conversation bringing together rigorous research, public involvement, political engagement, and concrete proposals for change. As it rapidly approaches its close at the end of this year, it will provide recommendations on how we can improve people’s experience of work through skills, with the ultimate goal being to help the country and policy makers better understand and navigate our changing economy.

Our speakers

Torsten Bell

Chief Executive, Resolution Foundation

Torsten is the Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation. He has a background in economic policy, with a current research focus on how to renew the UK’s economic strategy to raise growth and reduce inequality. Prior to leading the Resolution Foundation, Torsten worked in HM Treasury, as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers during the financial crisis, and as Director of Policy for the Labour Party. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, school governor, and trustee of the Child Poverty Action Group. He is an Honorary Professor at the UCL Policy Lab.

Stephen Evans

Chief Executive, Learning and Work Institute

Stephen has been Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute since 2016, having spent two years previously as deputy chief executive. He joined from Working Links, where he led on policy, strategy and business development. Prior to this, he worked for the London Development Agency as director of employment and skills, commissioning programmes and leading the work of the London Skills and Employment Board; was chief economist at the Social Market Foundation; and spent six years as senior policy advisor in HM Treasury working on policy for skills, productivity and child poverty.

Rebecca Garrod-Waters

Chief Executive, Ufi VocTech Trust

Rebecca Garrod-Waters is the Chief Executive Officer of Ufi VocTech Trust and a Trustee of the Edge Foundation. Rebecca has a background in technology and innovation policy and economic development. Prior to Ufi, Rebecca held positions as the Director of Innovation for Advantage West Midlands and Head of Knowledge Exchange at the South West Regional Development Agency.