Community learning and development (CLD) describes a way of working with and supporting communities – to increase the skills, confidence, networks and resources they need to tackle problems and grasp opportunities through community action and community based learning.
Within the UK, there are over 334,041 people working in CLD and encapsulates all formal and informal learning that takes place in community based settings. It comprises of seven strands including:
- Community based adult learning (aka Adult and Community Learning)
- Community development (aka Community Capacity Building)
- Community education
- Development education (aka Sustainable Development Education)
- Working with parents (aka Parental Education)
- Youth work
Within England CLD is also known as Adult and Community Learning (ACL) however it encompasses only five of the seven strands.
Community learning and development is delivered by bodies ranging from local councils and authorities to small community groups and alliances run by local committees.
The role of community learning and development is to empower individuals, groups and communities. Learning opportunities are offered in a variety of ways – through group work, casual conversation, one-on-one sessions, play activities, and case work – making learning accessible for everyone.
The learning that takes place in community based settings is as important to upskilling the workforce as vocational learning. Adult and community courses help to encourage people back into learning, particularly those who have been out of education for a long time, or had a negative experience of school.
In Scotland there are three national priorities which have been developed for community learning and development:
- Achievement through learning for adults
- Achievement through learning for young people
- Achievement through building community capacity