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National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

Founded in 1921, NIACE is the leading non-governmental organisation in England and Wales representing the interests of adult learners and of those who make provision for them. Its main aim 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;
  • By widening access for those communities under-represented in current provision.
  1. NIACE - ASSET UK in the East Midlands
  2. Background to the project
    Recent research undertaken by NIACE has revealed that many asylum seekers are well qualified, possess a wealth of work experience and have well-developed skills. Despite this research has shown that unemployment rates for asylum seekers entitled to work and refugees can range from 65-90% and those who do find employment are often underemployed.

    Research has also shown that those who have been granted permission to remain in the UK and those who have been given permission to work while their applications are being considered face the following barriers to finding employment:

    • Not having any UK work experience or knowledge of the systems;
    • Not having any UK references;
    • Overseas qualifications not recognised;
    • Not having opportunities to prove skills or develop them further;
    • Potential employers having negative attitudes to employing asylum seekers;
    • Psychological problems for asylum seekers resulting from, among other things, lack of purposeful activity during the 'waiting period' and the consequent low self esteem.

    Research has demonstrated the urgent need to address the early integration and orientation of asylum seekers in order to help them become self sufficient and prepared for the UK labour market and social integration.

    NIACE aims to contribute to the ASSET UK project by employing project workers to audit the skills, qualifications and experiences of asylum seekers in the East Midlands, and then to facilitate tailor made opportunities for volunteering and labour market orientation alongside learning support. The project also seeks to test out new approaches and exchange ideas with partners in the East Midlands, UK and the EU.

    Project workers will be working with asylum seekers living in five areas of the East Midlands - Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Northampton.

    How will asylum seekers benefit from the project?
    The project will capture the skills, qualifications and experiences of asylum seekers and the message about the contribution they can make to society will be disseminated. Orientation placements with businesses and voluntary organisations will provide asylum seekers with an opportunity to gain insight into the UK labour market, as well as to obtain references and gain experiences that could lead to paid employment after permission to remain has been granted. Those who subsequently return to their country of origin or transit, may also be better prepared to gain employment outside of the UK, because of the learning experiences that they have benefited from and the assessment of their skills and development needs.

  3. NIACE - National Collation and Promotion Project
  4. NIACE aims to contribute to the ASSET UK project by organising a programme of two series of ten regional events which will be used to raise awareness, and collate and promote good practice in working with asylum seekers, particularly in the areas of education and training. Both series will culminate in the production of a good practice guide to be further disseminated.

    The aims of the project are to:

    • Discover good practice in working with asylum seekers;
    • To promote this good practice on a UK-wide scale;
    • To provide information and resources to assist practitioners and the full range of agencies in working with asylum seekers; and
    • To raise awareness of the work of the Development Partnership and of transnational partners.

    When will the events take place?
    The first series of events will take place in 2003. The second series of events will take place during 2004/05.

    Who are the events for?
    Events will be targeted at practitioners and policy makers in the fields of education, training and community regeneration; statutory and voluntary organisations working with asylum seekers, social partners, regional development agencies and devolved executives.


The UK Asylum Seekers Development Partnership - ASSET UK is part funded by the European Social Fund under the Equal Community Initiative Programme.