Was it worth it? Gender boundaries and the role of adult education in labour market progress
Despite a number of relevant longitudinal studies carried out in Sweden, Finland, Norway and the United States of America, there is a relative paucity of research into the long-term outcomes of adult return to learning. This paper uses data from the first survey in Scotland into the longterm outcomes of adult learning (in this case, formal education/training) in order to explore the potential of adult learning for enhancing social citizenship,by facilitating labour market insertion and progress. The paper focuses particularly on an analysis of gender patterns. The issues addressed are: the extent to which respondents expected participation in adult education to benefit them in the labour market; whether labour-market-orientated participation in adult education brought positive occupational outcomes; the extent to which unintended labour market outcomes arose from participation in adult education; how women who undertook adult education did in labour market terms compared to men; to what extent personal perception of labour market progress was related to income; the kind of adult education which appeared to bring the most beneficial labour market outcomes; and any differences between men and women in this respect.