Adult education equips people with skills to help find employment

DEVON County Council is helping people back to work with a new credit crunch menu of short courses for adults.

DEVON County Council is helping people back to work with a new 'credit crunch' menu of short courses for adults.

The courses are free and offer a range of practical information, from how to search for a job, apply, and prepare for an interview, through to planning or running an enterprise activity and how to manage your own money.

Also new are courses to develop people's skills within employment. Short courses to improve people's effectiveness at work, how to summarise lengthy documents and contribute to meetings, are also available free of charge.

Although a review of data has yet to be completed, the Council believes that there has been greater numbers of people enrolling over the last 6 months on numeracy and literacy courses - courses that can improve people's employability.

Other Council-run courses, in computing, Work Related Training, National Vocational Qualifications and languages are also proving very popular.

Margaret Davidson, the County Council's Principal Adult and Community Learning Officer, said:

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"Although unemployment figures for the southwest are below the national average, it is fact that there are more people out of work now in Devon than say 12 months ago.

"Possibly as a result of that, we are seeing higher numbers of people interested in courses that can improve their chances of finding employment or improve their skills while they are in employment.

"National Vocational Qualifications, and courses like many of those we offer, such as English, maths and computing, which improve people's skills and therefore their potential employability, are also proving popular."

In addition to the 'credit crunch' menu of short courses, the Council has also within the last 12 months begun rolling programmes of courses throughout the year to enable learners to join courses at different times of the year rather than just at the beginning.

They have also started providing bespoke, tailor made courses, specifically for employers, where groups of employees require training.

And some courses are available as a 'fast track', condensing the same hours into shorter periods.

"The results of our more flexible approach to providing adult learning opportunities," says Margaret, "are that we're seeing greater interest in courses that help people improve their skills and which might potentially find them employment in these more competitive times."

Short courses designed to help people into employment include:

* Searching for a job

* Applying for a job

* Preparing for an Interview

* Interview Skills

* Planning an Enterprise Activity

* Managing an Enterprise Activity

* Managing your own money

* Alternatives to Paid Work

Other free courses to gain work skills, include:

* Summarising documents

* Taking notes at meetings

* Contributing to meetings

* Effectiveness at work

* Setting and Meeting Targets at work

Courses in maths and English are also free of charge.

Otherwise the Council provides many different courses, across a range of interests. In addition to English and Maths, there are courses in Arts and Craft, Complementary Therapies and Healthy Lifestyles; Computing; Languages and Communications; English for speakers of other languages; Family Learning; General Interest; Independent Living; and Work Related Training and Business.

For information about courses and adult education centres across Devon, visit