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The NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) is an educational charity in England and Wales, with headquarters in Leicester and Cardiff plus a subsidiary offices in London. The organisation is dedicated to promoting adult learning and was founded in 1921. It is the main advocacy body for adult learning in England and Wales and probably the largest body devoted to adult education in the world.[1]


The main aim of NIACE is to promote the study and general advancement of adult continuing education by improving the quality of opportunities available, by increasing the number of adults engaged in formal and informal learning, and by widening access for those communities under-represented in current provision. This is summed up by the words "more, better and different".


NIACE undertakes this work through:

  • advocacy to national and local government, funding bodies, industry and providers of education and training;
  • collaboration with providers across all sectors of post-compulsory education and training; and through fostering progression routes for adults seeking to develop pathways as learners;
  • a commitment to supporting evaluation and monitoring and to high quality service;
  • securing informed debate - through research, enquiry, publication and through arranging seminars and conferences;
  • effective networking - to ensure that lessons learned in one part of the system can be drawn on elsewhere;
  • ensuring that the best of international practice is available to its members and users;
  • a commitment to being itself a well-managed learning organisation.

Since 1988, Alan Tuckett OBE has been the Director of NIACE.[2][3]

The predecessor of Alan Tuckett was Arthur Stock. Its President since 2006 has been David Sherlock CBE (former Chief Inspector of the Adult Learning Inspectorate) and before that Christine King (Vice Chancellor of Staffordshire University) and before that Richard Smethurst (Provost, Keble College, Oxford).

Centre for Research into the Older Workforce

The Centre for Research into the Older Workforce (CROW)[4][5] is researching ways in which employers, government, unions and the European Union can encourage older workers to delay retirement. It is the only research centre in Europe with a specific remit to look at older workforce issues.

Its specific research interests include:

  • Age discrimination in work (which is unlawful across Europe and in the UK)
  • Flexible working and flexible retirement
  • Training, learning, and career development
  • Employer policies and practices in relation to older workers.

CROW has carried out research for the UK Department of Trade and Industry[6] and Department for Work and Pensions [7] on age discrimination. It is also involved in European funded research into the effects of gender and qualifications on work in later life and knowledge management in the automotive industry. CROW has researched older workers' attitudes towards work and retirement. It found that 80% of workers between 51 and 70 would consider delaying retirement, but most would only do if they could work more flexible hours. This research was quoted in a statement by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Professor Stephen McNair was the Director of CROW which, from August 2006 to September 2012 was located at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). In 2012, it moved to Middlesex University Business School London.


  1. Directgov Information on UK public services [1]
  2. College of Teachers Awards Retrieved 4 August 2011
  3. NIACE Blog
  4. NIACE
  5. South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) Briefing Paper on CROW
  6. BIS Department for Business Innovation & Skills
  7. Department for Work and Pensions Report

External links