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Bid success for new adult learning partnership
Release date: Fri, 13/07/2012
Three local authorities and colleges in the West have learnt today (Friday 13 July) that they have the go-ahead to develop a new way of delivering adult learning for the region.
A new one-year pilot will see the launch of the West of England Community Learning Partnership to improve and deliver new ways of learning for adults who want to boost their skills.
Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council, with the City of Bristol College, Weston College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the Workers Educational Association, are joining up with more than 100 other partners to improve community learning across the area.
Over the coming year, courses ranging from financial management, learning English, using information technology and parenting, to pottery, languages and local history, will be co-ordinated by the new Community Learning Partnership. A growing group of local learning supporters and providers are getting involved such as businesses, libraries, voluntary groups and schools.
Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Skills, Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, said:
”This new partnership will help deliver more learning opportunities to more people, close to where they need it. By tapping into rich expertise from businesses, colleges, community groups and local authority community learning teams, the partnership will be able to share resources and target them where they are needed most.
”Some parts of the region will want to boost literacy rates, some might want to offer parenting or home improvement skills. This new model will help co-ordinate targeted training. We are delighted to be building on the work of successful providers, including our own Learning Communities Team.”
Weston College Director of Partnerships, Jacqui Ford, said:
”We embrace the opportunity to work in partnership with the local authority and other local providers, to offer people in North Somerset rich and varied opportunities for community learning."
Southern Brooks is a charity based in Patchway, currently offering courses to help people into childcare, or youth work and family support. Training co-ordinator, Helen Humphries, said:
”Through the new partnership, we will be able to offer more opportunities to help raise aspirations. If people have been out of formal education for a long time they respond really well to getting their confidence to learn back in the informal setting we can offer. Working in a new way across the region will help us share best practice and styles.”
Organisations supporting the new partnership include Bristol City Football Club, B&Q, the University of the West of England, Knightstone Housing Association, Avon Wildlife Trust, Avon Fire and Rescue, Bristol Bike Club, the Festival of Ideas, city farms and a range of schools and children’s centres.
The partnership will be able to deliver more learning, such as the free or low cost DIY courses run by B&Q in their Cribbs Causeway store. B&Q have signed up to the partnership and senior service manager, Damian Barnden, said:
”We are seeing at least 60 people a week learn new skills through our ‘you can do it’ classes that run in store. It is easy and convenient for the community to access and we are filling a gap for those who have never been taught any DIY skills and don’t want to pay a tradesman for small jobs. Through the partnership we’ll be able to make these opportunities more widely known.”
As well as co-ordinating community learning, the partnership is developing a new website where learning experiences can be rated and building a bank of volunteer learning mentors and tutors. It also aims to support locally organised learning groups such as the U3A (University of the 3rd Age) and the Pub Art School.