Everyone should have the opportunity to find a hobby, retrain and upskill, follow their passions or fulfil their potential. That's why Oxfordshire Adult Learning remove obstacles and provide flexible learning options in communities across Oxfordshire, for all types of interests and whatever your personal circumstances may be.
There are plenty of positive reasons to study part-time, whether it's enjoying the social side of learning something totally new with other people, or getting the sense of accomplishment that comes with a finished project.
Our learners enjoy their courses so much, that 92% of them would consider trying another course with Oxfordshire Adult Learning.
We run part-time courses in 24 venues, including community halls, schools and at our main college campuses.
We work in partnership with more than 200 organisations, charities and businesses across the county, so we can deliver more opportunities to more people, especially to those who need it most.
From well-being workshops for carers, to specialist courses for adults with learning difficulties; we have dedicated teams providing services that benefit everyone, helping people to make life-changing steps forward in their education and empowering others to give back to their local communities.
I originally trained as a designer and there was an emphasis on being able to illustrate and express one’s ideas. On leaving college, I worked for an architectural practice for a few years and alongside designing interiors, I took on graphic work and visualisation.
About twenty-five years ago, I discovered oil paints and I have never looked back. It is a beautiful medium that is so expressive. I have put on several solo exhibitions and am constantly looking to develop my art.
With the classes that I teach, I try to bring some of my insight and enthusiasm for the discipline, from the basics of drawing and painting technique, through to developing individual styles and designing compositions.
It can be very rewarding to involve oneself in a creative activity and as well as acquiring a new skill, opening a learner up to being able to enjoy the work of other artists, past and present.
Having studied Fine Art at Durban Art School in South Africa, I started work as a 'drawer' in an advertising agency in Cape Town, London and Los Angeles.
My early career included working for a Greek publisher illustrating a series of books teaching English, studying Film Animation at CalArts, California, before meeting Ron Heapy at Oxford University Press who commissioned the award-winning and multi-million selling series of 'Winnie and Wilbur', soon to be a TV series on Channel 5!
As I frequently give drawing workshops at libraries, schools and museums, the invitation to teach fledgling adult illustrators the art and craft of picture books seemed a natural development of promoting my passion.
The workshops are conducted as an editorial meeting, where students are shown how to design and illustrate three double page spreads with exploratory sketches and pencil roughs. By the end, students gain an understanding of the difficult but rewarding creative process involved when designing and illustrating a picture book.
My floristry training has taken me from being a mature student doing a ten-week course, to being qualified at Level 3 City & Guilds. As a career, I have worked for local florists, started my own business in Oxfordshire, and have created designs for weddings and high-profile events too.
I began teaching in September 2017. At first, the take up for courses was slow as people didn’t know they existed but from September 2018 they were booked out and my students won’t leave; they keep asking “what’s next?”!
The Beginner’s course is about starting with simple designs, shapes and the flower choices the students make, whilst Improvers work on the styles and skills already learned and bring in designer elements to increase the perceived value of the arrangement.
As courses progress, students research designs and I encourage them to keep budgets low by going out and foraging for foliage. It gets quite competitive around Christmas as to who can find the most items to wire into the wreaths and table centres and where they foraged them from!
I became interested in stained glass when my tutor helped me to enrol at Vauxhall School of Building on a two-year part time course in Stained Glass Making. After moving to Oxford, I was involved in Art Week to gain recognition in the trade.
Alongside commision-based work, I joined Oxfordshire Adult Learning to pass on my love and knowledge of the world of coloured glass and 20 years later I am still teaching!
My course is unique because you can either choose to work in leading, copper-foiling or glass microwave fusing. Students can make panels/hanging pieces for their own home/gardens/charities, however large and small, and some have gone on to start their own business in making and selling pieces.
Aside from that, you gain a strong feeling of achievement, build confidence, make new friends and contacts and ultimately discover a new hobby!
I have always been interested in health and well-being and there is so much out there that we can do to help ourselves and improve our health. Diet, nutrition and health is something we all need, irrelevant of who we are!
I love healthy eating and enjoy cooking and making food for people and I recently wrote a cookbook. It has been a real success, helping people make positive choices that are great for their lives providing the ability to cook such simple food.
I have really enjoyed every part of teaching adults, writing the courses and teaching them and meeting people who are interested in learning something new.
I cover easy low budget recipes that are healthy and not daunting. They have little ingredients and will be easy to make, with information on basic nutrition that gets students talking about food and how they can really get into it. There are also useful tips about how food doesn’t have to be tricky and that we can enjoy unique meals that don’t cost the earth.
I started teaching Greek twenty years ago in northern Greece, with a small private language school before moving on to a bigger institution teaching foreign language to adults, which I found really inspiring.
The main aim of my courses is always to enable learners to get a good grasp of the language and communicate in a variety of everyday situations, both predictable or less predictable. This could range from ordering food in a restaurant, understanding directions or buying things to more complicated topics such as understanding a newspaper article or talking about a book or a film.
Although all four skills are practised, the emphasis lies on communication. I always try to have variety in my classes, with activities that promote interaction between learners in a fun way and with a lot of cultural input through media, songs and literature. There is more to learning Greek than just the language!
Apart from learning how to communicate in another language, which is the main aim, the course gives the learners the opportunity to discover and become more familiar with another culture, as well as to socialise and enjoy being in a group of people who share the same interests as them.