Rushden roaring into 2015

Monday 22 December 2014

Hundreds of local people have attended Rushden Learning Centre over the past year to get to grips with IT skills and to help them seek and secure employment in 2015. 

Attending in their spare time during the day, evening and on Saturdays, people of all ages have taken advantage of the free or low-cost courses, and many joined a special presentation evening on Wednesday 10th December.

Rushden Learning Centre is part of award-winning Bedford College which has these venues in Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Brett Suter, 39, from Rushden, achieved Level 1 and 2 qualifications in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher and Sage.  Brett used the skills he learned during the courses to help prepare a business plan for his prospective van conversion business, turning business style vans into camping homes.  Brett said: “I already had a basic understanding of IT but these courses have really helped me gain the further skills I needed to prepare and present business plans.”

Anne Bellamy, 62, from Rushden and Hilary Dore, 58, from Higham Ferrers were both made redundant when Dawson Books relocated from Rushden to Norwich on 2011.  The ladies were part of a group who attended courses at the Rushden Learning Centre to help find further employment.  Hilary now works for a local café, taking orders and delivering. Anne works as Passenger Support for disabled children and is also a catering assistant at a local school.  “We don’t necessarily use all the skills we learned at the Centre in our new roles, but the training and experience definitely helped us to find these jobs.  IT skills are needed for everything now and the internet is a big help when looking for work,” said Anne.  Hilary added: “All the staff have been so helpful and supportive, we would definitely recommend it to anyone, of any age.”

Liz Voss, 50, from Rushden achieved the Level 2 qualification in all of the IT courses offered at the centre.  Liz has a sight impairment which has led to her being currently unemployed.  “The Centre staff have been very accommodating and helped me enormously.  The courses have helped me build upon my IT skills and gain some valuable qualifications which I hope will help me find future employment,” said Liz.

A beautifully-decorated handmade Christmas cake, decorated by the centre’s Senior Administrator, Tina Joyce, was raffled during the event and raised over £200 for The Honey Pot Children's Charity.  Together with other activities, such as selling cakes, books and DVDs, this brought the total amount raised by the centre for the charity this year to be £650.  The lucky winner of the raffle was Peter Bailey.

Additionally, Karen Daley won the achievers’ raffle prize of a Kindle Fire HD which was donated by Bright Learning Solutions (see below)

Rushden Learning Centre

Group photo of staff and presenters:

Bedford College Principal and CEO, Ian Pryce CBE; Bedford College Executive Director, Sharon Chinneck; Bright Learning Solutions Managing Director, Peter Burton; celebrity singer/songwriter from Pop Idol, Kirsty Crawford and Rushden Learning Centre Manager, Kathryn Squires.

Entertainment was provided by local musician, Rhys Gradwell, who sang and played his guitar throughout the event, and then performed a scintillating duet with Kirsty after the presentations.