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Regional collaboration creates learning city


Key organisations from across the region - including Black Country, Telford and Staffordshire - came together to launch the Wolverhampton City Learning Region initiative at the University of Wolverhampton.

Learning Cities/Regions is an international movement developed and coordinated by UNESCO and is based on the idea that when communities come together to focus on the role that learning plays in the lives of residents, we can achieve more and transform lives, organisations, cities and regions.

Over 100 delegates from organisations linked to economic and social development, including local government and Local Enterprise Partnerships, employers and employment sectors, and learning organisations such as community learning providers, private training providers, faith organisations, schools and colleges, came together to learn about the concept and determine how it can best work for people in this region.

The goal of the initiative is to put learning at the heart of the Wolverhampton City Learning Region which includes the city and its hinterland – all areas that face similar problems linked to aspiration, a skilled workforce and increasing understanding of the role of learning in transforming an area.

Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton who hosted the event said:  “The recent launch of the Wolverhampton City Learning Region signals a pivotal step change in prioritising the role of learning when developing sustainable goals for our region.

“Through a partnership based on collaborative working, which brings together stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sectors as well as faith group leaders, we aim to place learning at the heart of social and economic transformation across the region.

“We are committed to achieving UNESCO Learning Region status – a learning region that promotes lifelong learning for all - giving people from all backgrounds and communities the opportunity to engage in learning in order to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our region.”

Representatives from Bristol Learning City attended the launch and shared their experience of setting up and becoming part of the network of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.

Dr Mary Mahoney, Head of Lifelong Learning at the University who is leading on the initiative, said: “The next step will be to identify the three priority issues facing the region and agreeing the approach to be taken. Whilst the university has started the initiative, it can only work if we come together to work on best practice solutions which can address the challenges facing the region. UNESCO Learning Regions status will be sought early in 2018. We are keen to hear from anyone or any organisation that wishes to be part of this initiative.”

Contact: Dr Mary Mahoney by email:


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Date Issued: 3rd November 2017

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