ANDY HARPER: As we heard earlier from some people locally, they’re learning new skills, and it’s been a way of turning their lives around. This is all part of Adult Learner’s Week, when thousands of activities are being held across the County to inspire us to do something new. Well Carol went to an event yesterday afternoon, and joined in the celebration of the achievements of some.
CAROL CARMAN: I did Andy. It was really heartening. It was indeed a celebration of, if you like, various forms of adult education, whether it’s going back to college and getting your O-Levels and A-Levels or whatever, apprenticeships, or, as we’re going to hear pretty soon, homeless people getting involved in producing a magazine called Flack. It’s just finished its pilot stage. It’s a What’s On listing magazine, and it’s been put together by homeless people. And they’ve written articles for it, and gained new IT skills, and things like that. Kevin Appleby is one of those people. (TAPE)
KEVIN APPLEBY: I’ve been going to Flack for about six months now. Before I started going I was quite IT illiterate. No matter how much I tried to avoid it, you’ve got to learn it, because you can’t get by without it these days. And Kirsten is responsible for dragging me into the 21st century. And she’s given me nothing but confidence, applying for jobs. I’ve actually applied for a post as an assistant support worker at the hostel where I worked, got the interview purely on the basis of the confidence that Flack has given me, and the IT skills that Flack has given me. And it can be nothing but beneficial, because there’s no pressure. There’s goals set, but you do those goals at your own time, so therefore it makes learning far more enjoyable. And also it benefits you for future employment if you feel you’re ready for it. And I think a lot more people should go. A lot more people should pay attention to it.
CAROL CARMAN: The thing is, IT skills, they’re just going to be increasingly in demand, aren’t they, in the future?
KEVIN APPLEBY: You are not going to survive without having some degree of IT skills. You don’t have to be a super-duper wizard at IT, but everyone is going to have to learn some basic IT skills. And for the people that are in the hostel system, that live on the streets, that really really want to try and get off their knees and try and make something of their lives, they need something like Flack. As I said, there is no pressure. And there are goals set. You achieve those goals in your own good time. And it makes learning It all that more enjoyable, because there is no pressure. And it’s a friendly atmosphere, and it’s just ekeing that potential out of every individual.
CAROL CARMAN: Was it difficult for you to make that first step?
KEVIN APPLEBY: I’d been through the hostel system. Nothing phased me out. So no, it .. I really wanted to learn IT, and I tried before. And I just didn’t enjoy it, because I felt as though I didn’t need an email address. I didn’t need IT skills. I was going to make it in the world on my own. But you can’t do it on your own, you just need It skills. And I really enjoy learning it now. I love it. I go every day. I really do like it. And I learn more and more, because I like it. (LIVE)
ANDY HARPER: That was Kevin Appleby talking to Carol yesterday. And he is somebody who has done something new.