Reporter 448, 6 March 2000

Taking new skills to the community

"We covered some really interesting areas - but the biggest thing I gained was development in terms of my own self-confidence. I couldn’t give 100 percent before, because when you’re frightened you hold back, but now I can bluff for England!"

The speaker is a Bradford community volunteer, one of more than 400 across the county to complete a community skills course, as part of the University’s most extensive community training initiatives to date.

Partnership organiser Kevin Ward, of continuing education said: "We’re widening access and participation, developing extensive partnerships and working with a wider range of community and voluntary organisations. Many students are intending to pursue other education opportunities, which is gratifying."

The West Yorkshire community work training company is providing a major source of opportunities for local people, bringing together more than 70 organisations, and securing £1.25million Single Regeneration Budget cash from the Government.

Courses both at FE and HE level - always held in community venues - are planned or running with a wide range of community groups in Leeds, including south Leeds women’s network, Holbeck community forum, Ebor Gardens, the Belle Isle foundation and the West Indian women’s group. Similar courses are taking place in Bradford, Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale.

Students are taking community work skills courses and gaining open college awards. The majority of award-holders have progressed through taster, introductory and intermediate courses, covering an enormous range of communications, networking and reflective practice and analytical work.

For more information contact Kevin Ward on ext 3181 e-mail

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