Let’s Learn – the vision
The Web Directory for Lifelong Learning
Tauranga area has a wealth of passionate people wanting to share their skills and knowledge but they are often difficult to find. Be “findable” !
“Let’s Learn” – Community Education Bay of Plenty, is a small group of women who are passionate about supporting Community Adult Education in the Bay of Plenty.
The “Let’s Learn” group has evolved over time from the original ACE Network, transitioning to the Western Bay of Plenty Community Education group after night classes ended in 2009; this group then re-organised itself into Community Education Bay of Plenty in 2015. The new “Let’s Learn” moniker was adopted in 2016 to better describe its vision, which is “People have endless opportunities to learn, grow and connect in the Bay of Plenty” and this is underpinned by their mission “To provide a hub that supports our local learning community.”
The Bay of Plenty/Tauranga area has a wealth of passionate people wanting to share their skills and knowledge but they are often difficult to find. The Let’s Learn website has been created to make these people “findable” and to list as many of the local community education courses, workshops and adult education events as it can. They are now working on plans to form a trust so that they can grow the sustainable, affordable provision of community education throughout the Bay.
Let’s Learn (https://letslearn.nz/) has now been uploaded onto ACE Place.
Zoe Wilkinson who is the Chair of the committee says that while the old network suited the pre-2009 ACE Network setup, the new Let’s Learn group is more Community Education based and has more community courses listed – the kind of things that used to be offered by the local high schools, but which are now provided by independent tutors, community groups and organisations.
The other members of the committee are Bev Hodges (Tauranga Library Course Co-ordinator), Lietta Erni (former Managing Director of Gernius) and local tutors Shelley Dean and Gaye Seymour.
Adult Learners’ Week He Tangata Mātauranga provides another opportunity to showcase what’s on offer. The committee organises a Free Course Taster Evening where over 30 tutors are involved in offering half hour sessions over a two and a half hour evening event. The first year they had fifty people attend, but numbers have multiplied. Last year just 80 had registered but, says Zoe, “they just kept coming through the door. There was a real buzz, it was amazing!. We had a free café running so people could sit and talk while they waited for their course. We had all sorts of tutors from drumming, to yoga, art, calligraphy, languages, tap dancing. It was really quite extraordinary.”
The group also runs the successful “Adult Learners Week Awards Ceremony” awarding and acknowledging the efforts of Adult Learners in the Bay of Plenty. Let’s Learn created the “Life Long Learner Award” in 2015 to acknowledge adult learners in the community, who have evolved from adult students to Adult Educators.
The committee provides a regular newsletter to tutors and providers from their database, telling them how to up load onto the website, and giving them information about up-coming events, and advertising.
They plan to offer Tutor training and more networking and public taster events. Some of the committee members are qualified adult educators and are able to upskill new-comers to the group. And while not every person offering community education is on the website yet, momentum is building. Their database has 250 plus providers and tutors, and it’s growing.
As all of the community courses are user-pays, the committee is keen to be able to subsidise some of the courses. That means applying for funding and forming a Trust. Once funding is secured they plan to employ a Let’s Learn Co-ordinator to streamline the management of courses, tutors, the website and social media. Watch this space.