Established in April, Aston’s Lifelong Learning Centre aims to promote, develop and provide a whole range of flexible learning opportunities for adults and young people. Its major concerns are to foster employability, regional sustainable economic development, social and environmental justice, sustainable community development, inter cultural learning, equal opportunities, the pleasure of learning and the clear value personal growth.
The Centre aims to help meet the needs of the city-region by establishing close relationships with employers’ organisations, community groups, local government, and public and third sector organisations. By using a combination of traditional approaches to teaching and learning and the new and exciting possibilities afforded by new media technologies the Centre intends to offer learners from all walks of life access to the educational resources and expertise of Aston University.
Through the growth and continuing refinement of flexible and distance learning facilities a wide range of part time modules and courses will becoming available in the coming months - some completely new and designed specially with particular groups and clients and others via the University’s highly successful and nationally respected Interdisciplinary Studies (Combined Honours). Some of the educational programmes formerly offered through the Staff Development Unit will be administered via the Centre and many of these will also be made available externally.
There are also arrangements for the accreditation of relevant prior certificated and experiential learning (APEL) as well as the recognition and/or accreditation of employer based learning programmes through involvement with EBTA (Employer Based Training Accreditation) - a project co-ordinated by fdf (Foundation Degree Forward). Short courses, day schools, master classes and other CPD activities as well as commissioned and customised learning are also being developed. The wider public engagement aspects of the the Centre’s work together with its commitment to widening participation, community regeneration and sustainable development is taking place in collaboration local colleges and regional and national agencies such as Be Birmingham, the Low Carbon Communities Network and Groundwork.
Words by Dr John Blewitt