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Time to think about adult education

18 July 2016

School might be out for summer but thoughts are turning to autumn learning for the county’s adult learners. The new ACL Essex course guide has been landing on doormats across the county, sparking interest in the range of educational and lifestyle courses on offer.

Enrolment is now open for courses starting in September with opportunities available across Essex ranging from apprenticeships, GSCE’s, languages, creative arts and fitness classes.

ACL Essex can help residents gain qualifications, improve their CV, boost confidence and learn a new skill which can then lead to new jobs, improved career prospects or just simply time out to get creative.

Three adult learners discuss their recent ACL experience:

Chris, 41 from Kirby Cross studied for a GCSE English with Adult Community Learning Essex, achieving an A* in 2015. He is currently awaiting the results of a Maths GSCE which he studied this year.  Chris decided to enrol with ACL Essex as he realised that having qualifications would improve his CV and increase his employment chances.

“My ACL tutor was fantastic. She treated us like adults, as individuals, as people. On the first day of the course everyone in the group was really quiet, and yes it was intimidating. The whole feeling of being back in the classroom was daunting but soon everyone was talking as the tutor immediately allayed our fears – they are brilliant. I’ve made some great friends. It soon becomes evident that you are on to a good thing and it’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. It has changed my life.

“I’m now studying part time for an Open University degree in English. I wouldn’t have ever dreamed I could do a degree; it would have been a total pipe dream. I’ve also written a novel and it’s going to be published on e-reader. ACL has enhanced my life and sent me down a completely different career path. It’s given me a huge level of confidence.

“I would recommend ACL a million percent! Yes, you have to put the graft in but everyone is so supportive. ACL is fantastic. I’ve run out of superlatives to describe it. If you have the chance or opportunity to do a course then don’t hesitate – sign up immediately.”

Rob Hill, 42 from Maldon has recently completed Level 1 and 2 in the British Computer Science Microsoft Office course. He then completed the Level 1 and 2 database course.

Rob is an engineer by trade, working with motor vehicles, but redundancy left him out of work and wondering what to do next. He realised that although he could install computer software into vehicles he didn’t really understand how computers worked. This combined with wanting to change career and move to an office based role gave Rob the direction he needed to improve his IT skills and gain a qualification to demonstrate his competencies.

“The tutor was absolutely fantastic, he was very supportive. He knew I was nervous and understood I hadn’t been near a computer in a very long time. Asking my nine year old how to type up a letter was pretty embarrassing – I needed to do something!

“I would definitely recommend ACL – without a doubt – it has given me the confidence I needed to change career. From initially enquiring about the course through to finishing the qualification everything went really well. The whole thing has been fantastic. ACL has changed my life. I didn’t have the confidence to apply for an office job but I’m now applying for jobs and doing work experience at Maldon District Council. This qualification has enabled me to have the complete career change I was looking for. You need IT skills for pretty much any job now – no matter what age you are – so sign up and get this qualification!”

Felicity, 58 from Essex studied for the City and Guilds Glass Stained and Kiln Formed course with ACL Basildon. Felicity chose to study with ACL, as a mature student, when her interest in stained glass was sparked after doing a stained glass panel workshop on holiday. The ACL class was purely to increase her knowledge and understanding of stained glass as a hobby and she describes it as “the perfect antidote to work.”

When asked what she got out of attending the course Felicity says: “It was having the dedicated time to do something different, the process of having time out to yourself and the sense of achievement of gaining a qualification at the end of the course.”

For more information about ACL, to find out about the courses on offer or the funding opportunities to help you study, visit www.essex.gov.uk/adult-learning or call 0345 603 7635.