Empowering Learning

“Strategies give everybody in an organisation an idea of where we are all heading. And while they are fixed on the one hand, they obviously flex as you get more information.”
Gary Headland DL, Chief Executive, Activate Learning

Activate Learning are embarking on an exciting new chapter in our journey as we launch Empowering Learning, our new strategy.

Empowering Learningwill guide who we areas an organisation,what we do,and, more importantly,how we do itover the next five years.

This new strategy is an evolution of Learning Reimagined, our last five-year strategy, and builds on the work that we have undertaken to revolutionise howwe deliverteaching and learningand engage with ourstudents andemployer partners.

Empowering Learning sets out to do exactly what it says: Empower learning. We want our students to be empowered through their learning experience and moving forwards, feel empowered in the choices they make.

We want everybody who works at Activate Learning to feel empowered in the work that they do and the careers they have with us.

And we want our employer partners to feel empowered by choosing to work with us and knowing that we are developing young people that possess the skills they need andknow how to learn and develop for themselves.

Who we are

Activate Learning is a pioneering education group with a global reach, committed to transforming lives through our approach to learning. The group comprises secondary, further and higher education, apprenticeship and business training.


To achieve far-reaching, progressive change and impact through learning.


Providing talent for business and transforming lives through our Learning Philosophy by empowering every learner to reach their full potential.

The Learning Philosophy

Our Learning Philosophy provides a common set of values and language for learning across our schools, colleges and workplaces.

It helps us collaborate and achieve success for our learners, our people and the employers and communities we serve. We believe anyone is capable of great things if they can learn to believe in themselves.

It shows how hard work, persistence, the right incentives and a supportive and safe environment, can change the way we learn and develop highly employable talent for our local communities and the employer partners we work with.

It’s built around three pillars: our brains, our emotions, andbeing motivated.


Employers recognise that their workforce will need to continually up-skill themselves. The good news is that we all have the capacity to develop ourselves throughout our lifetime. Like any other part of your body, the more you work your brain and train it, the stronger it becomes.

You can master great things when given the right guidance, put in lots of practice and work hard. Every time you practise something it strengthens your brain, so that the next time, it’s not as hard. And as you improve, you can start to take on new things and understand more, so you can continue and thrive on the path you take through life.


As an educational organisation, we need to encourage our students to learn and make them feel confident and well supported in this process. Learning is an emotional experience and when you feel confident, well supported and you trust your teacher, your brain is more open to learning. If youare forcedinto it and feel afraid, your ‘thinking brain’closes down.

On the other hand, negative feelings built on previous bad experiences can stop your brain from working at its best and affect how you learn. Working with you, we will help you to be more resilient and bounce back when you feel you’ve failed – because we all fail at some point! Failure is only a negative if we allow it to be. It is an amazing learning experience and can give you the confidence to keep going and stand out from the crowd.


Creating highly motivated young people that are ready to take on new challenges as they enter the workplace is something we pride ourselves on. We teach our learners to be inquisitive and askquestionsso they understand the task at hand. You should always understand why you are learning what you are learning. You’re more interested in learning something if you can see its worth to you and how it will benefit you in the future.

We will work with you to help you work out what you want from your learning experience. We will provide you with a range of experiences and opportunities through the businesses and partners we work with, to give you a sense of purpose in what you’re doing and help you take the next step, whatever that might be.

Strategic Drivers

As part of our Empowering Learning strategy, we’ve worked hard to identify the things that we feel should shape our strategic approach.

We’ve identified five key drivers that will be central to our thinking over the next five years and help us to focus our aims and objectives.

Empowering Learning is built on thethreedriversof neuroscience, technology, and globalisation,however we’ve also chosen to add wellbeing andsustainability, recognising how important these things are to the work we do.


The discipline of neuroscience is continually expanding our understanding of how we learn. We are evolving our knowledge about how the brain functions and how we understand the impact of emotion on the brain and the way we learn.

The brain is a powerful organ, capable of creating new connections on a massive scale, at any stage of life, and it does this in response to anything new thatis learned. We recogniseeach individual’spotential to activate their brain and push the boundaries of their learning, given the right mindset and conditions.

The only thing that holds us back is our own lack of self-belief and our motivation to learn. As experts in applied learning, we must use this knowledge to create an environment where learning canthriveand learners develop the emotional intelligence and technical skills required to navigate a changing landscape


The pace of technological change is accelerating. Automation is changing the shape of the labour market in all sectors and educators must prepare learners for jobs which are yet tobe created. Our approach has been to extend and enliven students’learning;removing traditional barriers by offering access any time, any place, via any device.

As we enter the next phase of our development, we will continue to invest in learning technologies to extend our customer base and offer seamless learning for every student. We will also develop learners’ digital and soft skills to enable them to successfully navigate the changing context


We are preparing learners and staff for global careers and global citizenship. Whether or not individuals work in different parts of the world, every businessis impactedby customers and markets on a global scale.

Learners must understand the global context of business and appreciate the cultural variations that make each market and culture distinct. As we expand our own international operations, we can enhance the learning experience of our UK-based students, through knowledge and cultural exchanges and by sharing experiences of teaching and learning overseas.


Wellbeing is at the heart of our beliefs andvaluesand we recognise that how you feel has a massive impact on how well youare able tofunction, both in your studies and in the job you do. When people are happy, have a sense of belonging and feel well, theyare able tofocus on the task at hand better and have more resilience to take on anysurpriseslife may throw at them.

Activate Learning celebrates and cherishes the diversity of those who work and study with us. We want everyone to feel safe on our campuses and know they will be treated with respect as their wellbeing is important to us.


As a values-driven business, our resources are finite andpreciousand we do not want to waste them. As an organisation that wants to offer the highest quality to its staff, students and employers, we wish to use our resources in an effective and efficient manner.

From the curriculum we deliver, to the carbon footprint of our campuses, Activate Learning recognises that we have a duty to ensure everything we dois consideredagainst the backdrop of the impact it will have on both our local and global environment. We also recognise that we have a duty to create learners who are more environmentally aware andare able tomake informed choices.

Our Strategic Objectives

As part of Empowering Learning, we’ve identified three key strategic objectives that are aligned to the three most important groups that we work with as an organisation; our learners, our staff, and the employers we work with.

The Learner Journey

By 2025, we will have the reputation as the best place to learn in our locations and we will be over-subscribed. Students’ guaranteed career progression is enabled by our unique Learning Philosophy, which recognises the dynamic between brain, motivation and emotion and the impact these elements have on our capacity to learn. Through building positive relationships with students, staff and employers, we raise aspirations, build confidence and develop the whole person, going far beyond just delivering qualifications.

Whether students learn online, in the workplace or at one of our vibrant campuses, we belong to a diverse community which is passionate about learning and continuously engaging in developing their skills, understanding and attributes, and are open to receiving and offering feedback.

We proudly share and celebrate the success stories of our students whoare empoweredwith curiosity, courage and resilience to learn in the multiple ways open to them and develop the lifelong learning habits and positive attitudes that make them prized employees in a global workforce. As an organisation dedicated to learning, we achieve continuous improvementfueledby the learner voice.

Feedback from our students is a vitally important tool and one that we will use as the main measure of our success in regards to this objective.

The Staff Journey

By 2025, Activate Learning will be an employer of choice in the sector, through the co-creation of a culture that values and sustains a love for professional and personal development, interdependent learning communities and builds progressive career paths.

Our Learning Philosophy will form the foundation of our culture where everyone has the potential to achieve and develop in an emotionally secure environment for the right reasons.

Employees will feel connected and have a sense of belonging with their team and the organisation, from day one.

They will come to work and be themselves at their best, within a culture which is accepting and inclusive. They will have a voice, feel heard, and know how they contribute towards the success of the business, whilst feeling valued and appreciated.

Feedback from our staff is a vitally valuable tool and one that we will use as the main measure of our success of this objective

The Employer Journey

By 2025, we will be leading the sector through symbiotic co-creation with employers. We are all about delivering our Learning Philosophy and our vibrant range of community employers support us to co-create what we teach. By working with large employers, we are able to use their networks and increase the breadth of our engagement to gather greater insight into our business communities.

These communities co-create innovations, growing their businesses together through sharing research on the latest techniques and technologies, enhancing our students’ career pathways, as well as their business.

We work with selected employers to develop an offer which meets local and national skills shortages.

Our partners recognise the impact we have on their business through the multiple ways we engage with them and specifically, the learning we provide to their existing and future workforce.

Our Employer Journey supports our learner and employee journeys by providing positive destinations for students and development activities for our employees.