Work Experience at Skills Network

After 6 months with Skills Network, group members are given the opportunity to do paid, supported work experience within the organisation.

There are a wide range of ways to do this - some women have taken on the organisational admin and bookkeeping work, others have started helping to run training and others have created their own roles based on their skills and interests. You start out doing 2 hours a week but this can increase.

Our intent at Skills Network is to share the paid work out amongst group members as much as possible. So as people develop skills in certain areas, the responsibility, leadership and pay for this shifts to them.

Skills Network offers a one year programme of trainings and activities, that build on each other towards an Open College Network (OCN) Progression to Work Certificate. Once you have completed a phase, you are invited to join our follow-on courses if you want!

Introductory courses – newcomers to Skills can join these courses!

Introduction to Family Learning: a 6-week, OCN accredited course introducing key ideas of learning through play, learning styles, and speech and communication development in very young children.

Supporting Your Child at Primary School: an 8-week OCN accredited course to help parents get to grips with the literacy and numeracy work their children are expected to do at school, and understand the school system.

Get in touch here if you’re interested in joining in. All introductory courses include a one day introduction to the Skills Network cooperative working approach and a one day introduction to group decision-making.

Phase 2 courses

Multisensory Money Part 1: a 6-day interactive family learning maths course, focused on developing maths skills with mother and child. The course uses fun, interactive methods to develop skills in reading tables and spreadsheets, solving money maths problems and basic budgeting. It also prepares you to take part in participatory budgeting (helping decide how the organisation’s money gets spent) and in the We Count campaign!

Cooperative Working: An 8-week course on developing your child’s cooperative working skills and exploring how and why we work cooperatively at Skills Network. We look at different types of power, its effects and ways to share power. We explore ways to develop listening and talking skills and manage differences in a group. We also look at how to understand and engage with different perspectives and worldviews. We use multisensory games and interactive activities to reflect on ideas, and then discuss how you can use these activities at home with your children. You will have the opportunity to practise your cooperative skills by organising and running Community Skill-Sharing Days.

What's in a Name - Language, Power and Identity in Lambeth: This 4-day course was created after women in the group asked for tools to help their kids think about messages they absorb about their identity in what they read, watch and hear. Many in the group also wanted to explore issues around their own identity, especially in terms of race and gender. We use a critical reading and thinking approach: starting with a look at women’s roles in The Tiger who Came to Tea and ending with an exploration of the effects of media representations of ‘mums on benefits’ - with plenty of thought-provoking stuff (and activities to do with your kids!) in between.

During phase two all participants get training in consensus decision-making and facilitating group meetings

All the training around cooperative working skills was really useful when things got stressful during our office move. It stopped me getting into fights because I could see other people’s point of view and work with it!

Phase 3 courses

Peer Support: a 12-week course in Intentional Peer Support, open to people who have completed our cooperative working course.

Multisensory Money Part 2: This course builds on the basic budgeting skills you learned in Part 1 and introduces you to how budgeting works at a local and national government level, as well as explores debates around ‘austerity’ budgeting. We also use activities from the Woodcraft Folk to help you explore these ideas, on a simple level, with your kids.

How our training works…

I’ve started lots of courses but this is the first one I’ve ever finished

I never thought I could be creative but I’ve made lots of learning games – and my kids are so impressed by what I’ve done

  • The sessions are friendly, informal and fun. You can explore and discover ideas your own way through experiments, practical activities and discussion.
  • We work in a multisensory way ...Some people need to build things with their hands to learn, others respond to pictures and images, others like to hear information. Most people learn best through a combination. We work in all these ways - and give mothers tools to do the same with their children.
  • We give all course participants regular one to one support to help them meet their goals. We also have weekly ‘drop-in’ days where you can come in and catch up and get support with any work you’ve missed or struggled with
  • All our courses are OCN accredited but it’s your choice if you’d like to work towards the certificate or not.

A lot of the stuff I learnt has helped me support my daughter at school. I enjoyed the family learning a lot, it made me more aware of my children's needs and understand more where they are coming from when they struggle

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