During my whirlwind first week in the role of Network Development Officer at Good Things Foundation I learnt lots about the Online Centres Network. Therefore I was excited to head out to Learn For Life Enterprise in Sheffield to find out more about the reality of being an Online Centre, and the challenges and benefits that it can bring.
Learn for Life is a community hub based on London Road in Sheffield. They offer a variety of training as well as advice and support to the community, particularly vulnerable and hard-to-reach members of the community. Hayley and her mum Gill have received acclaim for their work and were even awarded British Empire Medals for Learn for Life Enterprise in the New Year’s Honours List, and were invited by the Queen to attend a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.
I met with Hayley and Gill in their cosy office to find out more about what it's like to work with Good Things Foundation as an Online Centre. Their passion for their centre really shone through, and it was evident how at home the learners felt from the smiling faces that kept popping into office for a chat.
We discussed the new project that Learn for Life Enterprise are taking part in; Make It Click, funded by Google. I was particularly interested to learn about Hayley and Gill’s idea about incorporating elements of the Digital Skills Directory into their existing ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes. I particularly liked the idea about incorporating the ‘How to Write the Perfect Email’ module into some of their Level 1 and 2 ESOL courses. This lead to an interesting discussion about how digital skills need to go hand in hand with language skills to enable learners to access opportunities.
I appreciated the opportunity to go out and see how the resources and platforms that Good Things Foundation provides really work in practice, and hear ideas about how they could be developed in the future. I’m happy that Good Things Foundation can help to support organisations such as Learn for Life Enterprise that are clearly making such an impact in the community.