Nottingham’s Infused Learning calls for business support

The social enterprise has launched a pilot scheme of free courses to help unemployed Bulwell residents access qualifications to get back into work

Infused Learning was set up in 2014 and offers blended learning courses for people studying at home or while at work. It specialises in helping students who would otherwise struggle to access mainstream tertiary education, either because they are holding down a job or have other commitments, such as caring for family.

With clients including the Civil Service, Volkswagen, YMCA, Nottinghamshire County Council, The Queen’s Medical Centre’s Youth Service and Sure Start, the organisation is now offering free qualifications for Bulwell residents not currently in employment and is calling for people living in that area to take advantage of the offer. The scheme has been funded by Awards for All, a branch of the National Lottery.

Infused Learning co-founder, Natalie Sharpe, said: “In Bulwell, 37.4 per cent of residents have no formal qualifications – this is against a backdrop of 22 per cent across England. In one of the area’s main academies, 107 out of 166 learners at the end of key stage four were deemed “disadvantaged”.

“We feel this is disproportionate and likely to have a long-term effect on individuals’ life chances. By supporting adults in this region now, we hope to help prevent cyclical unemployment in this area. 1.8 per cent of people in this region have never worked, that’s set against a national average of 0.7%.

“Bulwell is the perfect area to launch our new pilot and we hope that, if it is successful, it can be rolled out to more areas. We are so grateful to Awards for All for providing us with the funding to make this happen.”

The learning courses will be supported by Skype and focus on a range of topics including: key academic skills such as research, spelling and grammar; time management; career confidence including CV writing, IT and interview skills; and yoga and mindfulness. 

As well as calling for unemployed Bulwell residents to take up the scheme, Infused Learning would also like to hear from local businesses willing to contribute modules to the project, as well as businesses which have old laptops they would like to donate for students to learn on.

Natalie said: “When businesses upgrade their computer systems, they often end up throwing out perfectly useable equipment, such as laptops, rather than going to the trouble of recycling them. Rather than doing that, if any business is going through a technology transition, we are asking if they would consider donating any old laptops to us. This costs them nothing but will make a huge difference to the lives of residents in areas where there is cyclical unemployment and poverty. 

“Plus, if any business would like to donate any modules by teaching students in any area – from confidence building to book-keeping, we’d be delighted to hear from them.”

To take part in the scheme, Bulwell residents need to complete their chosen modules within a three-month timescale.

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