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Over 60% of adults in Wales have unfulfilled dreams – only 19% are chasing them

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Across Wales, more than six in ten (64%) adults have an unfulfilled dream yet just one in five (19%) are planning to turn it into a reality in 2020. The findings come as The Open University marks its ‘free your ambition’ campaign – a national campaign to encourage more people across Wales to act on their ambition and access learning to help them achieve their dreams.

The challenges include the cost (39%), personal commitment (33%) or a lack of confidence (29%). On average, it takes someone 20 months before taking an initial step towards an ambition – whether that’s starting to save, changing careers or enrolling on a course.  

Those living in Wales and from lower-income households are more likely to lack confidence in their abilities which can make it harder to succeed in education or in the workplace. For example, 22% of those on lower-incomes in Wales worry that they won’t be able to make their dreams a reality, compared to 14% among all Welsh adults.

  • More than six in 10 (64%) Welsh adults has an unfulfilled ambition  
  • It takes us 20 months on average to do something about an ambition or a resolution
  • It is estimated around 351,000 Welsh adults[i] would like to access learning but many[ii] are putting off pursuing their ambitions
  • The Open University marks its ‘free your ambition’ campaign – a national call to encourage those in Wales to act on their ambition and access learning to help improve their lives
  • According to The Open University, nine in 10 (95%) Welsh adults have an ambition in life, the most common include earning more money (46%), having a better future for their family (38%), boosting confidence (31%) and inspiring their children (31%).  

Director of Development at The Open University, Jhumar Johnson said: 'These findings show that we really do dream big and many of us have ambitions to improve our lives. Our message today is simple: you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. All you need is the will – and the way – and that’s where we come in. Learning with the OU is life changing. You’ll have the flexibility to study around your commitments – be that a family or starting a business.

'Our amazing students tell us that studying with the OU can hugely improve their confidence and self-belief which opens doors to more life-changing opportunities, helps fulfils people’s career ambitions’ and ultimately improves employability.'  

One in two (53%) Welsh adults say that as they get older, they find it harder to turn their dreams into a reality so today The Open University wants to call on adults in Wales this January to not delay any longer and make 2020 the year of ambition. The University estimates around 351,000 adults in Wales would like to access learning but many are putting off pursuing their ambitions because of confidence, a fear of failure, commitment challenges or the cost.

In Wales, part-time students can apply for maintenance grants (to help with living costs) that do not need to be repaid. The Open University, has received a 46% increase in new students in the first year of the new financial support alone, further helping students to fulfil their dreams and achieve their ambitions.

For more information visit

[i] According to the research, 11.1% of Welsh adults would like to return to learning and based on a gross calculation using the population of Wales (3,138,631).  This equates to 351,000 (rounded)

[ii] More than 1,227,205 adults in Wales are putting off pursuing their ambitions/dreams

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