Learning and Work Ambassadors Project aims to help adults to reconnect with learning, get a new skill, pursue an interest or hobby, or support their children in their learning. It can also help people to get ready to take formal (academic) courses. Community learning can be delivered via colleges and training providers, and also in the local community in venues such as libraries, leisure centres, community and children’s centres, and can take the form of workshops, courses or family learning days.
There are many benefits of Community Learning: it can improve individuals’ and families’ physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting children’s learning, increasing people’s confidence, and strengthening local communities. It also allows people who might not have considered learning, training and education as an option before to ‘start small’ with something they are comfortable with, before perhaps moving onto further academic or vocational learning, or employment.
Here in Greenwich, we are lucky to have a team of Learning and Work Ambassadors (L&WA) who support local people to access Adult and Community Learning. The successful model that the L&WA project uses is to recruit volunteers from within various communities, estates or groups so that they can act as credible and effective role models to others in encouraging them to get involved in community learning. If these L&WA’s have already had positive experiences with community learning, they are able to speak convincingly about the benefits to those in similar situations who might be considering getting into education or training.
The Greenwich L&WA’s support potential learners from all over the Borough, by giving them information, advice and guidance about learning and training opportunities, and helping them to overcome barriers to access those opportunities. That might involve investigating childcare options to enable a young mum to attend a course; accompanying a nervous learner to a college enrolment day; or meeting a non-native speaker of English face-to-face for a chat rather than have a more difficult-to-understand conversation over the phone.
All the Greenwich Learning and Work Ambassadors are volunteers, who have undergone training in the programme as well as in Advice & Guidance and Community Development. There are currently 22 of these L&WA’s with more volunteers joining the project all the time. The group get together regularly to upskill, share information and plan future events, and often enjoy some social time together as well. It’s a very rewarding volunteering role as L&WA’s see the direct impact of their actions on their own communities and have the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped someone to start an important journey – which may just be life-changing!
For more information about the Learning and Work Ambassadors Project, contact Jackie Collen at Volunteer Centre Greenwich – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8317 3817.