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Survey: British people want to express themselves

Survey: British people want to express themselves

Anyone who has been to the UK, or failing that, watched the movie Notting Hill will know that British people have difficulty expressing their feelings. Here is some evidence that despite their famous shyness, they’d actually quite like to let it all hang out. If that’s all right with you, of course. Sorry. Excuse me.

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has published the results of a survey of adults in the UK which asked what skills they would most like to learn. The survey was taken in preparation for Festival of Learning 2016 (previously Adult Learners’ Week), a national celebration of lifelong learning aiming to communicate the message that whatever your age or education level, it’s never too late to learn.

The skill most adults said they would like to learn, with 39%, was cooking and baking. In second place was learning to play a musical instrument with 23%. Here are the top ten most in-demand skills in the UK adult continuing education sector, according to the survey:

  • Cooking and baking - 39%
  • Playing a musical instrument - 23%
  • Learning a language or languages - 21%
  • Singing - 17%
  • Photography - 15%
  • Dance - 13%
  • DIY - 13%
  • Art - 11%
  • Gardening - 11%
  • Creative writing - 11%


Half of the survey’s participants said they would be willing to take a course to boost their skills, and interestingly that figure rose to 60% among the 25-to-34-year old age group.


NIACE chief executive David Hughes said, ‘All of the top skills people would love to learn most are about people expressing themselves, who they are, what they stand for.’


He also said, ‘This shows that we all want to learn new things … but it also shows that people need help to take steps to find where and how to learn.’


Festival of Learning 2016 consists of a nationwide network of ‘have a go’ events encouraging adults to step forward and learn something new. There are rewards recognizing brilliance by individuals, tutors, projects and employers – shortlisted candidate individuals and organizations can be seen here. The festival can be followed on the hashtag #lovetolearn.