Adult education programme launched at Catterick Leisure Centre event

Adults have been given an insight into the benefits of continued learning as a college returns to North Yorkshire.

Darlington College launched an adult education programme with a special event at Catterick Leisure Centre giving prospective mature students a taste of continued learning.

After taking part in a variety of activities, including making bird boxes and creating an art installation, many visitors signed up for a range of courses, from teacher training and professional qualifications to construction and hair and beauty.

Others were interested in brushing up their skills so they could help their own children with their school work, particularly in the maths and English. Some, including refugees, were attracted by the college’s expertise in languages.

The college’s ‘Spring into Learning’ event showcased everything from bite-size courses for absolute beginners to Level 7 qualifications, the equivalent of a Master’s Degree.

Subjects ranged from the key skills of maths and English, to chartered management qualifications and journalism, construction, hair and beauty.

Courses will be delivered in the community or at Darlington College depending on demand.

Adult skills, training and employment curriculum manager Lois Calvert said: “The courses are very much a taster of what people can do on a larger scale.

“They offer a flavour of adult learning to people who might feel uncomfortable about returning to studies. They are for more mature students or perhaps young parents, people looking to learn as an additional interest or to enhance their life skills. They are also useful to the parents of children with additional needs as we can embed English and maths into gaming.

“I was really pleased with the turnout. It was a diverse audience which is great because adult learning is for everyone; for those who have never engaged, for those who want to improve their skills, for a lot of parents who are struggling to support their children at school. Education is so fast changing and as a parent you are not an expert in everything even though you are expected to be.”

Adult learners can also study through distance learning with the full support of tutors if they prefer that to attending college.

For Audrey Flewker the event was an opportunity to return to education after a 63 year absence.

“I left school at 15,” said Audrey, 78.

“I have really enjoyed it this morning, making a bird box and fat-balls for the birds.

“My granddaughter is going to enrol at Darlington College and I am going to join the college’s book club as I do a lot of reading and it will be great to be with other people discussing what we read.”

Anyone interested in further education can attend an open evening at Darlington College, on May 9, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, to discover more on shorter adult skills courses, professional qualifications and higher education, including foundation degrees and degrees.

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.