A new project aimed at breaking down the barriers that prevent adults from improving their employment prospects has welcomed its first students.
Durham Learn offers a flexible approach to learning, combining classroom based study with e-learning and interactive online sessions within a virtual learning environment.
Led by Durham County Council’s adult learning and skills service, the project is being trialled with 15 adult learning employers in the county who are all keen to support their teaching staff to boost their skills.
Sixty new students attended induction sessions for a Level 4 Certificate of Education course.
However, the majority of the course will be delivered online, meaning they can fit their studies in around work and family commitments.
This approach also means those living in remote areas with poor public transport links do not miss out on learning opportunities.
The Durham Learn Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is now live and, between now and March 2019, free courses will be delivered in subjects such as teaching, English, Maths, health and safety, IT and health and wellbeing.
Durham County Council has received funding from the Department for Education (DfE) for Durham Learn, which is one of 32 pilot initiatives being trialled nationally. It is part of a Dfe research project into the barriers preventing adults from upskilling and gaining new qualifications.
Danielle Barnes, Durham Learn project manager, said: “We were thrilled to receive support from the Dfe to pilot this programme.
“What makes Durham Learn so exciting is the ‘anytime, anywhere’ nature of our courses. It opens up learning opportunities to people who were previously prevented from studying due to work or caring commitments, or because they were unable to travel for traditional classroom based courses.
“These courses have the potential to change lives, helping people to progress within their current workplace or launch a new career.”
It is hoped the council can use this project as a starting point for improving provision and broadening participation in adult learning in the future. This will include offering a range of vocational qualifications, from entry level to industry specific.