Education and Learning

Creating learning for social benefit

We believe that learning is such a critical social activity it should not be left in the hands of educational managers!

As society changes it creates systems of education that address its needs. Sometimes there are radical shifts needed – and today we need to look afresh at the way people might learn.

Before the industrial revolution learning was, for most, a social activity – we learned from the people we connected with.  It all changed and has remained largely unchanged since that shift from social-centric learning to institutional learning, following the demands set by the manufacturing and industrial entrepreneurs.

We lost the ability to learn socially – we established formal systems at the expense of learning in the home, the workplace, and the community. The school, college or university became central institutions in education, to the extent that we now often think that education equals formal education.

Nowadays the formal education system is bound by convention, by performance leagues, and  statistical measurement. The traditional dominant educational stakeholders slow down educational reform, they preserve systems that have afforded them their long existence, instead of enabling it.

Our knowledge based society demands shifts in educational approaches.  Education and learning becomes of value when it “fits” the individual; when we recognise that people don’t learn sequentially: they do learn non-linearly;

We can devise new systems of learning to suit individuals and society today, with new technologies, increased understanding of individual and group learning, social support, using  collaboration, communication and the mobilization of social resources.


  • Educational and Developmental Guidance
  • Effective Quality Control and Quality Assurance
  • Development of Learning Methodologies
  • Matching Training to Suit
  • Education, Training and Curriculum Development
  • Preparation and Developments for Curriculum Accreditation
  • Formal and Informal Learning Practices
  • Organisation of Study Visits (UK, EU and Worldwide)
  • Project Development and Securing Funding
  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Unique Approaches to
    • Systems Thinking
    • Education for Sustainable Development
    • Enterprise Education
    • Community Engagement in Learning

Exemplar projects

Rural Connect – before leaving SRUC Oatridge, Adrian established this project, its finances and delivery team. The project connects people in West Lothian with their local rural environment and heritage by developing and delivering practical projects, community-based activities, and encouraging local people to develop their own training and learning activities, using the Rural Connect team as intermediaries.  It is externally funded  by  LEADER and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Bridgend Growing Communities –  developed their  “Introduction to Organic Vegetable Gardening” along the accreditation route devised by Adrian whilst at Oatridge College. This modular course was devised to provide recognition for learning gained during the eight modules delivered, each lasting about two hours, which cover a range of subjects including basic garden design, soil analysis, composting, seed sowing and dealing with pests organically. This informal  course has now been running successfully for three years, during which time over fifty individuals have received their Oatridge College certificates.

Growth through Systems Thinking – a developmental programme designed to bring about cohesion and develop core purposes in staff teams. Bringing together 5 basic premises – interconnectivity; that people matter; trust; triple bottom line; and systems thinking, the group learning and problem solving techniques used in this programme bring about significant improvements in work place relationships and ways of working.

The Rural Skills Academy – a unique set of learning programmes developed with the aim of reducing the barriers to learning that people from disjointed backgrounds  often face. Working in partnership with local support groups, the programme provided supported learning environments specifically designed to develop independence, self confidence and self motivation in learners, to the extent that they had the confidence and skills to progress their personal learning goals. This development was awarded the Scottish Further Education Unit Annual Award for Promoting Equality and Diversity in 2007. The programmes continue to run in 2013.

International Summer School – to this day North American learners are attending courses in countryside management and equine management developed between Adrian and partners in the USA, from which attendees gain credit against their degree programmes. Working closely with Dr Ray Barclay from Adelante Abroad and staff colleagues at Oatridge College, Adrian  developed and coordinated the learning programmes which comprise a mix of  field-based, informal, social and cultural learning.  This programme won the 2012 “ Best Tourism Business Award” from West Lothian Chamber of Commerce  for the development of UK/USA inward study activities.

Enterprise Learning Partnership –  based in Falkirk this initiative facilitated learning between SME owner/managers and full-time students on IT courses at a local College. Facilitated through Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust, internships were organised for students who worked in the companies and developed websites and IT systems and programs to suit the needs of the companies and they taught the company reps how to maintain and develop the products. The students learnt about how to work in SMEs, deal with a “customer spec” and deliver a product: business owners learnt how to better utilise IT systems: a mutual beneficial project!