Hanley's move will see him become marketing and publicity manager at WEA and follows seven years at FTI Consulting.
He will establish a new national press office for the century-old charity and report to the director of membership, volunteering and marketing, Peter Templeton.
Hanley joined FTI, then known as Financial Dynamics, in 2005 as part of its corporate comms team where he specialised in public affairs within the property sector.
Commenting on the move, Hanley said: 'The WEA has a fantastic heritage of providing high-quality adult education throughout England and Scotland, but over recent years it has not had the profile it deserves. I am looking forward to helping promote the WEA’s work and to campaign for issues that matter to its members at a national level.'
WEA CEO, Ruth Spellman, added: 'Building our comms and campaigning capacity is a central part of our strategic vision. The work of the WEA in providing adults, particularly from deprived communities, with the skills and confidence transform their lives and enhance their employment prospects has never been more important. Our recent recruitment in the marketing department will help develop a wider understanding of our work in the media and with our stakeholders.'
Hanley will be joined by Andrae Alexander, who has been recruited as press and comms officer.