Agenda item

Adult Skills and Community Learning - Caroline Oxley


Members welcomed Caroline Oxley from Adult Skills and Community Learning to the meeting to present an overview of the service. It is aimed at providing training, advice and guidance to over 19's in Barnsley in a supportive and friendly environment. Courses are available online at Wellington House or in the community and include skills courses such as Maths and English from the basics to GCSE level. They are all free as long as learners do not already have a qualification in the subject. Furthermore, they provide training in ESOL and IT and digital skills and this is funded by a national entitlement, which aims to concentrate on essential and digital skills such as the internet, email and online payments. There is an administration qualification which supports learners with PowerPoint, Excel and Word and further courses in levels 1-3 for Teaching Assistants and 1-3 for Health and Social Care.


There is an additional strand to the learning pathway with a Wellbeing course which many people start with and then progress onto the skills learning. This focuses on mental health and confidence and supports learners to improve their positivity. Additionally, there are creative wellbeing activities which identify how creativity can improve wellbeing. These activities include drawing, painting, sewing, digital photography, glass painting and baking. Furthermore there are courses for learners with disabilities, which include skills for independent living and work life and wellbeing with a person-centred approach.


Statutory courses are provided for businesses which include Level 2 Food Safety, Level 2 Health and Safety, Level 2 Manual Handling, Level 3 First Aid at Work along with Paediatric First Aid but charges may apply based on income.


The offer includes employability support and advisors offer advice on a 1-1 basis. They work with people who are employed or unemployed and support them with the skills to develop CV's, job searches, applications and career pathways. Furthermore, they source and pay for suitable courses i.e. Dog Grooming and help to arrange and pay for childcare. They also assist with applying for benefits and refer to other agencies such as IAPT, citizens advice and food banks. They can support with sourcing work experience and volunteering opportunities in specific sectors and can help with paying for interview clothes and provide a bus pass to get to work. This is delivered every two weeks over the phone, in the community or at Wellington House.


During Covid enrolment did drop but has now increased with online support and help with wellbeing. However, returning learners tend to be higher level but the service aim is to concentrate on the lower level, lower skilled and vulnerable learners. To do this they will be working out in the community and are happy to explore further options. Caroline is covering Dearne and Barnsley South, but her colleagues will be covering other areas across Barnsley. They will be attending local groups and having discussions about barriers to engagement such as travel and childcare, with a hope to move people towards work and raise their aspirations. They would like to encourage people to go to Wellington House, but understand that travel can be an issue, which is why they will provide information on online services and courses. They are additionally having an open day at Wellington House so that they can provide a further opportunity to share their offer.


In the ensuing discussion reference was made to the following:


  1. The employability service in Dearne with improving engagement, however vacancies are more qualification focused and with some learners not having Maths and English, it would be beneficial for this to be delivered in tandem with their appointments. This is being explored and Thurnscoe Library has the facilities to enable this.


  1. Support with a CV, interview process and clothing, work experience and appointments over the phone is essential and with the market opening in Goldthorpe on a Monday, starting on 13th June, this may be a useful place to hold an information stall.


RECOMMENDATION that Caroline be thanked for attending the meeting, for the presentation and for answering members questions.


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