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ACORN - Adaptive Capabilities for Organisational Renewal through Networks

Partnership information


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The ACORN DP intended to engage companies in learning networks with the aim of creating six networks consisting of six to seven companies centered around a lead company. The companies could be in the same supply chain or geographically local to each other, with a number of employees from each company being involved in some type of learning.


The programme was about empowerment and equal opportunities for all and therefore the ACORN Project looked to engage companies who wanted to improve their equal opportunities policies or approach to equal opportunities. The beneficiaries were those most disadvantaged in the workforce. The DP brought together expertise from universities, colleges, the private sector and partners in other European countries.


The project aimed to provide improved workplace learning opportunities in the following areas:

  • Numeracy.

  • Literacy.

  • ICT.

  • Equal Opportunities.

  • Communication skills.

  • Leadership & Negotiation.

  • Empowerment.
Target Beneficiary group

The project identified the following groups as the major recipients for these training opportunities as these were considered to be the most at risk in terms of unemployment and the chance to gain further employment.:
  • Employees with few, if any, formal qualifications.

  • Employees from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.

  • Employees with low basic skills.

  • Employees with a range of disabilities.

  • Employees in the 50+ age range.

  • Women.
Main outcome

Delivery of the Learning Networks was carried out by BOLDU in the West Midlands, ISCAN in Yorkshire and the Humber and Liverpool, John Moore’s University in the North West. The other partners provided support in terms of training expertise or materials.



Lead partner

Transnational partnerships


Peter Sinclair, BOLDU Ltd,


Action 2: 15 May 2005
Action 3: 30 October 2005

Equal theme

Lifelong learning and inclusive working practices


Employed in SMEs, Jobseekers with low basic skills, Labour market returnees, People from disadvantaged areas (top 10% most deprived wards), People over 50


  • Establishment of Learning Networks amongst groups of companies (mainly SMEs) to support the introduction of culture change, introduction of equality policies and practises, and introduction of empowerment of employees.

  • Development of Equality Toolkit (CD) which encourages and enables managers of SMEs to embrace Equality issues and understand the implications of current legislation.

Final report

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