Have you ever thought that you weren’t good enough? When you look at courses do you think you won’t be able to do them? That they’ll be too hard? You’ll fail? You’ll make a fool of yourself by trying? You aren’t the only one.
Our research shows that barriers around confidence were significant. We also spoke to some mothers that said they used having a lack of time and a lack of headspace to mask the fact that they were deep down just too scared to try for fear of failure. So this data could hide the true extent of the problem that mothers have with confidence and self-esteem.
Almost 1 in 5 18-30-year-olds lacked confidence to learn. This rises to 25% of mothers over the age of 51.
A 2017 study demonstrated mothers of young children showed decreasing self-esteem from pregnancy to hit a low point when their children are three. This is also the most common time to take a career break to care for children when they are you and evidence shows that women’s self-confidence drops during a career break. Research shows that women on maternity leave start to lose confidence in their ability to return to work just 11 months after giving birth. It’s likely this significantly impacts their confidence around learning new skills.
Learning has been proven to have positive benefits to confidence and self-esteem so if you’re sitting there thinking that you aren’t capable of learning then it sounds like you’re the sort of person that would benefit hugely from doing so.
If you feel you aren’t capable of learning something new then it’s likely you have limiting self-beliefs - beliefs about yourself and your abilities that are holding you back and stopping you achieving what you’re capable of.
If you feel that you aren’t good enough to learn then it’s likely that this limiting self-belief are holding you back from more than just learning.
Limiting self-beliefs stop us from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. We like to stay in our safe space where there is security and structure. The lower our confidence levels the less we are likely to leave our comfort zones. But the more we stay in our comfort zone the more anxious we feel about leaving it and the less likely we are to push ourselves. So our comfort zone gets smaller and smaller over time. The more we leave our comfort zone and push ourselves the more we build our confidence to do more and so our comfort zone expands.
So many of our students have faced confidence issues before starting to study with us. When they blog about their learning journeys, so often, the story starts with them doubting their abilities. But they go on to succeed, to graduate, and not just this but to go on to become enthusiastic lifelong learners. Learning, particularly learning that is designed in the right way, can unlock something in you that builds your confidence.
To close our campaign launching our new report “Locked out of Learning” we have asked all our successful graduates to share a positive message of support for anyone out there to say that you can do this. You are good enough. You will succeed. You’ve got this.
This blog is an extract from our new report “Locked out of Learning” exploring why mothers aren’t learning and how this is impacting their careers.
100 years ago this month the Ministry of Reconstruction’s adult education committee published its Final Report on Adult Education. This report argued for the importance of adult education for the nation’s welfare and security and laid the foundations for adult education in the UK for decades to come. 100 years on we have commissioned research to examine the impact motherhood has on female careers and employment levels, with a focus on the potential of adult learning as a solution to support mothers into rewarding work.
Over the last few weeks we have been sharing our report, infographics and stories from women that bring life to our key findings as well as our recommendations for Government, employers and other learning providers. Check out the full report here or the executive summary here.