ducks to water - participants on the Outward
Bound course at Semer Water, near Hawes
of going back to a classroom terrified me,"
explained Bernard Vickers. A painter and decorator
in estate services and graduate of the Return
to Learn (R2L) course, he is now a Unison
work-based learning adviser, encouraging others
to give learning a second chance.
the work-related R2L course seven years ago
(see Reporter 394). Passionate about giving
people a 'second bite of the cherry,' hes
now involved with the Learning for Life (L4L)
fund and helps to run one of the many non-work
related courses that ancillary, technical
grade (A to C) and clerical staff (grades
1 to 3) can follow with the fund's support.
The L4L fund
provides up to £125 towards the cost
of any educational course from photography,
sailing and computing to aromatherapy, fitness
and Outward Bound, or even a degree. It aims
to help staff get back into education. Bernard
Vickers said: "When I was at school I
couldnt wait to get out of the doors.
This scheme is about getting over the fear
- Bernard Vickers
Barry Thornton is one of 250 staff who have
benefited from L4L and he reckons people shouldnt
worry about trying to learn something new:
"Some people think others will take the
mickey, but everyones in the same boat.
You all learn together. You see other people
having a go and people encourage each other."
The scheme worked as a useful springboard
for Barry; he has now applied for a university
course in humanities.
Taking a non-work related course can also
help you at work. The Outward Bound course
focuses on team work with tasks including
map reading and problem solving. Managers
of those taking part in L4L are also upbeat
about the scheme. In a recent review of L4L,
managers said that "increased confidence
in social skills gained from participation
on courses can help break down social barriers,"
and "the scheme can help with the feel-good
factor - important in times of change."
L4L was set up by the University and Unison
and is supported by Amicus. It was extended
this year to include certain technical and
clerical staff. Courses are taken in employees'
own time. Students on the work-related R2L
course are released from normal duties for
60 hours over a six month period to study
topics including writing, researching, understanding
and expressing points of view and working
To find out more about the schemes and how
to apply for R2L or L4L, visit one of the
open days on July 2 or September 3 in the
SDDU training room from 10.30am- 3.30pm or
contact Eileen Barrett on ext 34619, email
or Debbie Greenwood on ext 34098, email@example.com