From education to employment

Celebrating Learning at Work Week at Kirklees College

@kirkleescollege: This week is national Learning at Work Week (#LearningAtWorkWeek), celebrating the benefits of adult learning in the workplace. This year’s theme is Learning Power, exploring how lifelong learning can empower us to change and grow throughout our working lives.

Kirklees College is committed to providing its own workers with continued professional development opportunities, and it also works with a range of other employers to deliver courses for their staff. Our employer course offer includes essential qualifications including Functional Skills English and maths, GCSE English and maths, and Essential Digital Skills.

In recent years, the college’s English and maths team has worked with major local employers such as Kirklees Council, Polyseam and Northern Gas, to deliver Functional Skills lessons to staff during work hours. Classes can take place weekly or in a block period, and learners can attend sessions at Kirklees College’s Huddersfield Centre, or on-site.

In the Autumn term, we interviewed a cohort of workers who had been studying Functional Skills Maths Level 2 on-site at Polyseam. Wayne Forrester, Head of Manufacturing at the company, commented on the benefits of releasing his staff to do these lessons during work hours:

“We release our employees for a short time to learn because what they learn will help them grow. […] If our staff are happy and confident, Polyseam will benefit.”

To mark Learning at Work Week, we spoke to another cohort of adult learners from Kirklees Council who have been attending lessons for Functional Skills maths and English and Essential Digital Skills at the college.

Marie, a Support Worker at Kirklees Council is currently studying all three courses. When asked why she wanted to take up the opportunity to return to college, Marie said:

“For me, coming back to college was all about empowering myself. I originally went back to education in 2013 to get my science qualifications, but unfortunately I had to stop those courses due to an operation, so really I have come back to finish what I started and prove that you are never too old to learn.”

The learners from Kirklees Council shared a number of reasons why they had chosen to come to college, from opening doors to promotion and new careers, to being able to help their kids with homework.

Speaking about the importance of English and maths learning, Lynn Smith, Curriculum Area Manager for Functional Skills at Kirklees College commented:

“No matter what route you take in life, one thing that’s certain is, you will face numerical and literacy-related challenges in both a personal and professional capacity on a regular basis. Simply put, you can’t go a day without using maths and English in some way, shape or form.

Employees who are granted study leave to improve these crucial subjects, tend to feel more valued by their employer and are more likely to stay with the company in the long term. From my experience, this has been a real staff motivator and is reflected in the high achievement rates that we have been able to support these employees to obtain.”

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