04 May 2016

Education, Learning and Skills

Thousands of adult learners benefitting from ‘good’ service in Bristol

Whether it’s learning about developing aspirations, getting a qualification or training for a new job, people across Bristol are showing a passion for learning with thousands benefitting from Bristol City Council’s community learning courses and apprenticeships each year.

The Council’s Community Learning and Apprenticeships team has just been rated as ‘good’ by OFSTED in all areas – a testament to the hard work of all the staff and tutors, as well as the enthusiasm of learners.

Community and family learning is at the heart of the service with a core focus on English, maths and IT, as well as skills which appeal to employers. There are a huge variety of courses available to meet the needs of local people, including English Conversation Clubs to improve language skills and first aid courses.

Helping people to get, and keep, the jobs they want is one of the core successes of the service and the apprenticeships programme, On Site Bristol, forms a key part of this. OFSTED found that ‘success rates for apprenticeship programmes are good’. In the past year almost 90 people have found work through the programme.

Jessica Perrett is a newly qualified carpenter who completed her On Site Bristol apprenticeship with Bristol City Council’s Housing Delivery department. She said:

“The apprenticeship has been a great introduction to my career and has given me the confidence to take on new challenges at work, as well as completing jobs around my home. I received fantastic support from my training officer and was always able to get extra help when I needed to chat to someone. I am aiming to continue developing my career at Bristol City Council as a fully qualified carpenter.”

Another learner, Paul Graham, has secured employment as a van driver after taking part in the First Bus Employability course which is run at the centre. He said: “Thanks to the course I have ended up in a job I am really pleased about. I work as a van driver now - the course helped me to study again, get more ready for work and get prepared for application forms and interviews.”

OFSTED also found that Bristol has developed a programme to attract and engage learners with significant barriers to learning from the most deprived areas, and provides a high level of support throughout. Partnership working was praised, and the courses were found to help learners ‘improve their confidence and self-esteem.’

Paul Jacobs, service director for education and skills at Bristol City Council, said: “Bristol is a Learning City, which means that lots of organisations are working towards improving and promoting learning opportunities for everyone. Learning new skills can improve social mobility and break down barriers, which is what we’re trying to achieve through our community learning courses. In this Year of Learning, I would encourage everyone to consider how learning something new could benefit them.”

For more information about community learning and apprenticeships in Bristol, visit: