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Celebrating Adult Learning

A bheil ùidh agaibh ann an Gàidhlig – Have you always fancied learning a bit of Gaelic?

Are you looking to learn the Scottish Gaelic language in North Ayrshire? Well look no further than North Ayrshire’s Adult Learning team!

Sheila Blain, Gaelic Development Worker and tutor explains: “North Ayrshire has a host of adult learning opportunities delivered by our Adult Learning team, available in each of our localities.

“The Community Learning and Development team has been actively involved in supporting the Gaelic language and culture for over 20 years and the Council is fully committed to providing opportunities to all ages who are interested in learning Scotland’s native language.

“As a local authority, which serves a diverse range of cultures, we have our very own Gaelic Language Plan and for those with other interests there’s walking groups, awards and qualifications, digital skills, cookery classes and more… so why not get involved?”

Arran resident John said yes to Adult Learning

Over on Arran and the mainland, Gaelic classes are run weekly via Zoom alongside in-person workshops. The classes also give opportunities to explore other opportunities such as song, dance, fiddle, clarsach and Gaelic literature.

Members of the weekly classes have shared why they have said yes to adult learning – as part of our spotlight recent Adult Learners Week (1-8 September) spotlight #AdultLearnersWeek

The team over at Arran Library managed to twist the arm of talented Blackwaterfoot-based linguist Wilma Stark who has recorded a short interview as part of #AdultLearnersWeek – find out more in the video above.

And, Arran resident Tommy said, “My name is Tommy Robison/Tomaidh MacRoibin, and I was born and bred on the Clyde Islands, particularly the Isle of Arran.

“My late mother spoke Gaelic and I’ve always been interested in learning, but the usual ‘life took over’ and I never did – until now.

“So at 67, I have said yes to adult learning and I’m loving it! I learn once a week via a two hour Zoom lesson courtesy of North Ayrshire Council, and it’s free. I’ve also made and subsequently met, friends from my class and beyond. It’s a fabulous feeling of belonging and being connected to my roots and my country.

“Learning and trying to speak Gaelic has brought me enormous benefits, like self-focus, drive, contentment, belonging, being a part of something I love, new friends, strengthened friendships with existing friends. I cannot fault any of it, and it has been a fantastic positive addition to my life and in turn happiness, quite important in my little world.

“I also love driving around Scotland in areas where the road and other signs are dual-lingual and testing myself to understand them, try to pronounce them, and then try to remember them, to add to my conversational repertoire – that’s fun!”

Joining Tom in the virtual group is John Page (pictured left bottom), Lamlash resident and husband of Alison Page – renowned Arran-based children’s book author. He shares: “I’ve said yes to adult learning because I wanted to get out my comfort zone.

“My hearing has declined over the last decade, so I’m losing the higher range frequencies – when listening to the radio I can hear deep voices but women’s voices not so much.

“Thankfully as I have some great high tech hearing aids, I’m able to fine-tune my surroundings and what I can hear, but I am really aware of keeping the mind stimulated and active as I approach my 70’s.

“This is why I decided 6 years ago to join the Zoom class to learn Gaelic and it has been great. I have a keen interest in Scottish history and culture, so this is my way to do my part to ensure it continues to thrive.

“My goal is to be able to read fluently in Gaelic as my hearing impairment makes me not the best at pronunciation, however our tutor Sheila and the rest of the group always encourage me which is great.

“I am naturally an introvert so having the group to go to has allowed me to be a bit more outgoing. The homework this week is a children’s book from the fantastic Gaelic resources at Arran Library. Although hopefully soon enough I’ll have mastered reading the classic Scottish history books in the adult’s section of the library, all going well!”

Say Yes to Adult Learning poster

Say YES to adult learning ‼ That’s the message from North Ayrshire Council ahead of Adult Learners’ Week 2024. Running from Saturday 18 May until 24 May, the national campaign – delivered by Scotland’s Learning Partnership – celebrates the benefits and many avenues of adult learning happening throughout Scotland.

Here in North Ayrshire, the Council is keen to champion the positive role that learning can play at any point in life. To give residents a flavour of the variety and scale of learning in the area, the Community Learning and Development (CLD) team will be taking to social media this week to share a range of opportunities that will:

👉 Shine the spotlight on the common interests of learners and providers;
👉 Promote the benefits of non-formal adult learning;
👉 Highlight the great opportunities we can offer those who are new to adult learning;
👉 Signpost followers to local opportunities designed to enhance employability and digital skills;
👉 Help residents to come together, meet new people, feel more confident and be empowered to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

It is hoped that by highlighting the activities available to adult learners, even more people will get involved and seek to acquire new skills so that they too can gain qualifications and potentially a new job to improve their lives.

Follow the North Ayrshire Virtual Community Centre page to find out all about Adult Learning opportunities happening near you…

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