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British Sign Language courses booming at a Warwickshire college

Baking and British Sign Language (BSL) courses are booming at a Warwickshire college (@WCollegeGroup) as it continues to expand its adult-learning offering.

WCG (Warwickshire College Group) has seen a waiting list for both courses since they launched at Royal Leamington Spa College last year.

The courses are returning for a second year after thriving and form part of the college group’s programme of courses for adult learners.

Other courses across the college group’s six colleges include creative writing, floristry, art, crafts, bookkeeping, vehicle maintenance, English, maths and many more.

The baking and BSL courses are both led by non-teaching members of staff who have been given the opportunity to pass on their skills to learners.

Jessica Mooney, who works as a marketing officer at WCG, has been leading the three-hour evening baking classes – guiding people through how to make stollen, sweet dough, sourdough, French pastries and Indian breads.

The classes are set to return in September after a successful first set of workshops earlier this year.

She said: “I’m a self-taught baker, so when the opportunity arose to deliver these courses at the college it was something I definitely wanted to do.

“We have been running the courses once a month on a Thursday evening and we’re looking to expand it again when it returns in September.

“I won Best Food Experience 2021 at the Foodie Awards, and think it’s great that the college is open to offering courses which provide something a little bit different and help adults to develop new skills.”

Meanwhile Renata Conduit, Sensory Impaired Specialist Lead at WCG, is already delivering British Sign Language (BSL) classes to a second set of students.

Renata started working in the role after studying BSL following a career in research.

She decided to run the course to pass on the benefits which she has seen from learning sign language and both iterations of the nine-week course have been fully-subscribed.

Renata said: “I had been working in research for 15 years and as part of my redundancy package I was given a small retraining budget. I decided to study a BSL evening course and by the second week I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in that area and worked my way up.

“There has been huge interest in the course since we launched it, which reflects the growing desire from people to learn sign language. I think this has been fuelled by TV and popular culture where sign language is more visible now than ever before.

“I really love delivering this course, passing on my passion for sign language and helping others to learn this important language.”

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