From education to employment

LSC and BBC Funded Local Project Asks People to Tell Their Story

A novel approach to bringing adults back to education has seen a Lancashire-led project short-listed for an award.

The “Tell Us Your Story” project is being delivered through a partnership between the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the BBC, local adult learning services and voluntary and community organisations across the North West. It aims to bring adults back to education by telling their life stories. Within Lancashire, the Blackpool and Chorley projects focus on engaging homeless adults and those with mental health problems. It has been short-listed for the “Opening Doors to Adult Learning” Awards for Adult Learners” Week in May.

The Origins

The idea behind the project is to use story-telling as a means of engaging those groups of adults who are most likely to find it hard to access mainstream education. The influence and resources of the LSC over learning and skills provision is backed up by the use of BBC facilities and expertise. With further support from local voluntary and community organisations, it is a unique approach in encouraging adults back to education.

Speaking about the project, Steve Palmer, Executive Director of the LSC in Lancashire had this to say: “The story telling approach relies on the use of writing, speaking, listening and inter-personal communication, making it and ideal vehicle for supporting the improvement of literacy skills.”

Encouraging Signs

The project is already showing signs of success, with adults progressing onto a variety of further learning studies. These have included IT, counselling and Healthcare studies and Looking Good and Feeling Good. In some cases, adults have gone on to find employment, an example being as a project worker with a community organisation. Furthermore, one participant is writing a book and others have written a drama production for radio.

A number of learners have gone on to participate in Creative Writing courses at their local day centres whilst another has joined a writers” group in Chorley. Steve Palmer says: “This has been an objective of the project from the outset. At the LSC we are committed to improving learning opportunities for everyone, including those who would normally find it particularly difficult to access education.”

As one of the main backers of the project, the BBC has already expressed an interest in rolling out the story-telling approach in association with the LSC, amongst others. A national conference to disseminate the outcomes of the project will take place in Manchester on June 29th.

Joel Goldman

Watch the FE story unfold at FE News!

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