Helping learners discover their potential - New resource pack from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

A new resource pack - Discovering Potential - from NIACE, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, provides details of essential techniques which will help practitioners and managers who work with adults with low self-esteem to unlock their hidden potential through adult learning.

Written by Kathryn James and Christine Nightingale, Discovering Potential explores what self-esteem is and how it can affect participation in learning, while offering valuable advice and strategies for anyone working on a one-to-one basis with adults who are 'hard-to-reach', 'marginalised' or 'socially-excluded'.

Kathryn James, co-author of the report said, "Building confidence and a sense of well-being is increasingly being seen as a means of enabling learners to make the most of their potential and to participate more fully in society. But how do you do it? The key is thinking about what you want to do, getting what you want and keeping what you want - by doing that you are either fulfilling your own potential or helping someone else discover their's!"

The launch of Discovering Potential will co-incide with an event during Adult Learners' Week (18 May), organised by NIACE and NHSU, the 'corporate university' for the NHS - involving non-professional staff in the health and social care sectors.

Kate Malone, Campaigns Officer from NIACE said, "The event's about capturing the voices and needs of these staff and drawing up a list of ingredients that will go towards making learning at work a good experience and a reality for low-paid workers in health and social care. By empowering these workers to feel more fulfilled and motivated in the workplace - ultimately they will discover their true potential and this will surely lead to better care for all patients."

Kate continued, "As one of the delegates (a domestic hospital worker) told me, 'this is the first time I've had an opportunity to attend a conference, it is usually the managers who go!'"

Media Contacts:

Kathryn James is available for interview.

For further information on the NIACE/NHSU Conference, please contact Kate Malone on 0116 204 4236 or 07787 534 415,

Notes to Editors

1. Discovering Potential by Kathryn James and Christine Nightingale is published by NIACE (ISBN 1-86201-166-4) and priced at £12.95. It is available to buy online at the website

2. Kathryn James is the Development Officer for Learning and Health at NIACE which involves promoting participation in learning for people with poor health and well-being and evaluating the impact of learning on health. Kathryn has a background in guidance and teaching and prior to working at NIACE she worked in FE where she set up and managed a Mental Health Support Service, which enabled mental health service users to access guidance, learning and support.

3. Christine Nightingale is the Inclusive Learning Development Officer at NIACE. She has worked simultaneously in both health and learning environments as both a teacher and researcher for 20 years. In this context she has worked with adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Her research has explored ways in which health and learning professionals can collaborate to enable adults with poor health to access learning.

4. Review copies of Discovering Potential are available to Editors on Approval from Elisabeth Prince, NIACE Publications Marketing Assistant, Tel: +44 (0)116 204 2832 Email:

5. Learners' National Day Of Action, 'Agenda for Learning in the Workplace' is a joint NIACE and NHSU event to be held at TUC, Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell St, London, Tuesday 18th May 2004. Event is by invitation only, however journalists are welcome to attend. Contact Kate Malone, Campaigns Officer for more information.

6. Adult Learners' Week, 15-21 May 2004, is the annual celebration of adult learning in the UK and is organised in England by NIACE, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. It is supported by the Department for Education and Skills and the European Social Fund. Website:

7. NHSU is a new kind of learning organisation, providing learning and development opportunities for everyone working in health and social care. For free information and advice on learning and development in health and social care contact u-i on 08000 150 850 or [email protected]

8. Throughout Adult Learners' Week NHSU is seeking to raise awareness of learning opportunities available to staff; motivate adults to give learning a go; give staff information, advice and guidance to access learning opportunities; promote the NHS Learning Accounts Scheme, set up to provide all staff without a professional qualification with £150 each year for learning opportunities; and promote u-I, NHSU's free, impartial and confidential information and advice helpline for learning in health and social care.