Let’s Learn – a small part of a big undertaking

Connecting, socializing and upskilling

Speech by Zoe Wilkinson, Chairperson, Let’s Learn – Community Education, Bay of Plenty, organisers of the Awards evening at the Tauranga City Council and presided over by Mayor Greg Brownless.

As you know, Let’s Learn is run by a small team of 4 members, and each year we  endeavour to keep Community Education alive and kicking.  Our goal at Let’s Learn is to be the go-to place for  all adult community education –of all types – workshops, classes, training, certification Courses, Clubs, where any opportunity for adult learning is supported by Let’s Learn.

Our website has been up for 18 months now, and as you have heard  has grown to 14000 people visiting our website each month and checking out courses to attend.

At Let’s Learn – community education is the focus – these awards are to recognise adult learners, providers and tutors of Adult Learning.

While adults in all learning organisations are eligible, the focus must be on how they benefit their ‘community’ in their endeavours. Giving back, involving others, assisting in learning and teaching, are all key to the criteria.

Now Community Education does not always follow the business model. Goodness knows a lot of Community Tutors are not going to get rich delivering their courses…  Most want to pass on their skills to others and if they make some money or cover costs in the process they are usually content.  Some donate their proceeds to Charity. They are all heart.

Success in Community Education should not be measured by ‘business’ success but by its results and benefit to the community.  Many community organisations and groups are voluntary, are Charities, Trusts and often one-woman-bands which run on passion and a highly held value of giving back to the community. This is the underpinning ideology of great community education.  We support that.

Accessibility to adult learning is another highly held principle at Let’s Learn.

As a therapist Life Coach and Trainer, I often work with people with “Issues!” Did you know that lack of connection is the biggest cause of depression, addiction, poor self-esteem, and mental health illness in NZ today..?

Adults don’t only attend classes and courses to learn new skills, but to socialise, connect, meet people in their community. For new immigrants, it is an opportunity to learn English, to interrelate with our culture and customs, and make friends and new contacts.  The lesson might be learning to make bread, but the outcome is connection, relating and community. It enhances mental health, develops social skills, grows our communities and bonds people with likeminded values. It is the essence of Life Long Learning.

So Let us learn to connect, socialise, upskill, and grow our community through adult learning.. Let’s Learn is taking a small part of that big undertaking.

Thank you for supporting Adult Learning in the Bay of Plenty.