Our History

Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales came into being following our re-naming from the former WEA YMCA CC Cymru on 5th November 2016.

The organisation comes as a 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.

- 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 Association 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 the mechanics institute, 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 opened in 1927 to provide an opportunity for sustained study for those that did not wish to proceed to higher education but return to their former occupations.

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 stories have been intertwined where they have had 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 119 countries and reaches 58 million people. YMCA works to bring social justice and peace to young people and their communities, regardless of religion, race, gender or culture.

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 of 1992.

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

The newly named organisation now continues this work under its new name: Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales.


We provide community education - including community development - and workplace education. We deliver this work through a local branch structure and partnership working 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 focus particularly on offering a wide provision of opportunity regardless of age, engaging with all communities, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, to meet their needs by negotiation.

Learners and branches continue to have a proper and unique role in developing and negotiating local provision and representing the organisation as a whole. For funding purposes Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales is a community-based Further Education Institution, where its main source of funding is from the Welsh Government's  Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning Section; to draw down this funding the organisation adheres to the Welsh Government's quality and audit requirements. In addition, a small proportion of our income comes from grant sources, contract work as well as voluntary members.

Our Vision:

Improve the lives of adults with a focus on the most disadvantaged through the creation of relevant learning opportunities, delivered throughout every community in Wales.

Our Mission:

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

Our Purpose:

To provide accessible learning opportunities for adults everywhere in Wales to develop as:
• Ambitious and informed learners, ready to learn throughout their lives and to play a full part in life and work, in Wales and the world
• Healthy and confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued citizens of society.

Our Core Priorities:

• Ensure highest standards of quality are achieved and maintained in everything we do
• Provide a clear and varied bilingual curriculum that supports equity, equality and social justice with pathways for progression for all adults wherever they are based in Wales
• Encourage creative and innovative teaching and learning to maximise engagement, progression, confidence and social values
• Be a great place to work as an employer of choice
• Ensure financial sustainability in all our activities.

Our Network Launch Event - Overview
27.04.17- Neuadd, Senedd Bulding, Cardiff
Sponsored by Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM

Our Network Launch Event - Kathryn Robson, our Chief Executive
27.04.17- Neuadd, Senedd Bulding, Cardiff
Sponsored by Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM

Our Network Launch Event - John Graystone, our Chair of Council
27.04.17- Neuadd, Senedd Bulding, Cardiff
Sponsored by Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM 

Our Network Launch Event - Special Guest Speaker Alun Davies, AM
27.04.17- Neuadd, Senedd Bulding, Cardiff
Sponsored by Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM