Our Learning Heritage | Adult Learning Wales

100 Years of Heritage

Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales is the culmination of over 100 years of heritage, all of which shapes how we work today. We have a proud history of helping people from all walks of life, in communities across Wales - shaping lives and providing inspirational learning.


Our History

Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales came into being on 5th November 2016 following our re-naming from the former WEA YMCA CC Cymru - this previously the result of mergers between Coleg Harlech and WEA North Wales with WEA South Wales to form WEA Cymru, and the subsequent merger between WEA Cymru and YMCA Wales Community College.

We've spent the last century and more providing the best of adult learning throughout Wales - helping individuals to realise their potential and making communities more resilient in times of change.

WEA Cymru

WEA Cymru was created in January 2014 through the coming together of WEA South Wales and Coleg Harlech WEA (North Wales).

The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) began in Wales in 1907, four years after the WEA in England. Founded by Albert Mansbridge in 1903, the WEA was created as an alliance between labour (working classes) and learning (universities).

The WEA's ideological roots are shared with a clutch of 19th century initiatives, such as mechanics institutes, the co-operative movement and popular public lectures on science, all created to encourage and support the desire by working people for further learning throughout their lives.


Coleg Harlech

Coleg Harlech was Wales' only long-term, mature students residential education college and was established in 1927 by Thomas Jones (T. J.), Cabinet Secretary to both David Lloyd George and Stanley Baldwin, to continue the work of WEA in a residential environment.

It is attributed with having changed the lives of thousands of people whilst giving Britain, and Wales in particular, committed social workers, teachers, politicians, trade union officials and social entrepreneurs who worked to raise ideals and aspirations.

Throughout their shared history in Wales, WEA and Coleg Harlech's stories have been intertwined where they shared a common ethos based on values of democracy and social justice.


YMCA Wales Community College

YMCA is one of the oldest and largest movements for youth in the world. Founded in 1844, it now operates in 120 countries and reaches 64 million people. YMCA works to empower young people - from childhood to young adulthood - with the support they need to reach their potential and create a better future for all.

YMCA Wales Community College Limited was established in 1993 as a department of the National Council of YMCAs in Wales. Designated status was transferred from the National Council to create a completely autonomous institution in 2004 under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

WEA Cymru, its predecessor institutions and YMCA Wales Community College Limited made distinguished contributions to the education of adults in Wales for many years.

The newly named organisation now continues this work under the name 'Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales'.


Working with you today

We pride ourselves on providing community-based education - including community development - and workplace education. Delivering this purposeful work through a local branch structure and partnership.

Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales is proud to work with community and voluntary organisations, representative organisations in the workplace, and other providers (including the voluntary sector, local authorities, further education colleges, and universities). We know that we can't do what we do alone - it's a collaborative effort to help improve communities and personal experience in education.

Our focus remains in offering a wide range of opportunities to people - regardless of age, disadvantage or other needs. Learners and branches continue to have a proper and unique role in developing and negotiating local provision and representing the organisation as a whole.


Our Vision

We are passionate about improving the lives of adults, with a focus on the most disadvantaged. We create relevant learning opportunities and deliver them throughout every community in Wales.

We aim to provide hope and foster ambition as the lead provider of community learning programmes enabling all adults to achieve their potential.

Our Purpose for you

We are determined to provide accessible learning opportunities for adults everywhere in Wales. Our objective for our learners to be ambitious and informed, ready to learn throughout their lives is steadfast - where we create a nurturing environment and enable all our citizens to play a full part in life and work in Wales - and the world.

Being healthy and confident is an important part to this and we want to ensure you are ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued citizens of society.

Join us

Become a learner, a tutor, partner or a member! Whatever you'd like to do, we would love for you to be a part of what we do.

Contact us