From education to employment

Butlins find new way to sign up learners

Learning a new skill and having fun on holiday may seem an unlikely combination but for one holidaymaker taking a Bite Size Intro has really paid off.

Jacqueline McLoughlin from Altrinham took part in a Bite Size Intro whilst on holiday at Butlins Entertainment Resort, Skegness earlier this year. After entering a related prize draw promotion, Jacqueline won an entire computer home office system. As an extra bonus, Butlins invited Jacqueline and her family back to Skegness to enjoy a free weekend break so that she could collect her prize.

Computer-based ‘taster’ courses designed to improve reading; writing and maths skills are freely available to Butlins’ holidaymakers all year round at its Skills for Fun Centre. Their games-based approach ensures the activities are sufficiently enjoyable to encourage people to step up into life long learning, to ultimately improve their employability. Butlins’ employees and members of the local community have free access to the Skills for Fun Centre. So too do local employers, who are encouraged to help their staff improve key skills. Everyone who participates receives a certificate that contributes towards a nationally recognised qualification.

“It’s nice to learn something yourself whilst the kids are off doing their own thing. This Bite Size course is an ideal first step into computers; having someone from the Skills for Fun Centre on hand to help is reassuring,” said prize winner Jacqueline.

Ivan Lewis, minister for skills and vocational education officially opened the Skills for Fun Centre last year, said: “Many people have key skills gaps that can be quickly closed with a little work. This centre supports the government’s national strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills.” Since the ‘Get On’ campaign was launched in August 2001, over 400,000 people have got rid of their ‘gremlins’ to boost their skills by achieving a reading, writing or maths qualification. Millions have joined courses just to brush up on their skills. Roger Begy, chair of the Lincolnshire and Rutland Learning and Skills Council said: “Learning should be fun. Making skills accessible means trying new and innovative delivery. Original ideas like this are an excellent way of making people comfortable with a return to learning, perhaps after a break of many years.”

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