Education & Family

Cooking and music 'are top skills UK adults want to learn'

Baking class Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Many UK adults would like to learn to be better cooks and bakers

Almost two-fifths (39%) of adults would like to be better cooks or bakers, according to a survey commissioned to launch a festival of learning.

And almost a quarter (23%) of the 1,018 UK adults questioned said they would love to learn a musical instrument.

Half told researchers for the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), they would be willing to take a course to boost their skills.

Learning was "part of who we are", said NIACE chief executive David Hughes.

"This shows how much 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."

The top 10 skills respondents expressed an interest in acquiring also included learning a language, singing and photography.

  1. Cooking and baking - 39%
  2. Playing a musical instrument - 23%
  3. Learning a language or languages - 21%
  4. Singing - 17%
  5. Photography - 15%
  6. Dance - 13%
  7. DIY - 13%
  8. Art - 11%
  9. Gardening - 11%
  10. Creative writing - 11%

Among 25- to 34-year-olds, the proportion interested in taking up a course in their favoured subject rose to 60%.

Image copyright Dejan_Dundjerski
Image caption Learning new skills is "about people expressing themselves", said David Hughes, of NIACE

Mr Hughes said the survey results showed how important it was to encourage people "to take the leap and go for it, whatever their level of education".

"All of the top skills people would love to learn most are about people expressing themselves, who they are, what they stand for," he said.

"The confidence learning those skills brings are crucial for everyone in life and in work."

'Have a go'

He said the purpose of the festival was to help make lifelong learning more accessible, with a series of have-a-go events in cities throughout England.

Comedian Joe Pasquale, a supporter of the festival who is currently studying for an Open University natural sciences degree, said his only regret was not doing it earlier.

"I was worried I was too old at first, but I love it," he said.

Chef Rachel Khoo said the best thing about cooking "is anyone can do it and you don't need a big space or all the latest gadgets".

"Once you've learnt the basics you won't look back.

"It's never too late to get cooking."

The NIACE Festival of Learning will run from 1 May, culminating in adult learners' week, from 13 to 19 June.

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