Brenda Barritt, manager of the Stettler Learning Centre, stands in the foyer of the facility which is located at 5221 - 46th St. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Stettler Learning Centre continues to expand range of services

Programs run the gamut from honing skills to launching into post-secondary studies.

There are plenty of ways to broaden one’s educational horizons at the Stettler Learning Centre.

“Our role as a learning centre is really shifting from being ‘content creation’ to ‘learning support’,” said Brenda Barritt, the Centre’s manager.

“We can bring that content in using the technology, but we also know that the types of learner needs that we have – they need that additional coaching support; that relationship piece of it as well,” she explained.

“It’s not just about the three hours they are in class – it’s all that additional (service) around it that we can provide.”

The Centre’s Community Adult Learning Program provides a range of programs from adult literacy and foundational learning, English as a Second Language (ESL) and General Education Diplomas (GED) to learner support services, help with workplace readiness and family early literacy.

Also, through their partnership with Campus Alberta Central, they are able to offer post-secondary programs through accredited institutions making it possible for students to tackle advanced education without leaving their communities.

“It creates better links between rural populations and post-secondary (institutions),” she said. “We are very unique in Central Alberta, because what happened is Red Deer College and Olds College cooperated, put money together and created Campus Alberta Central.”

There are also loads of online courses to check out, from various computer courses to accounting to management and even launching our own business.

Ultimately, several different learning organizations became a singular community unit with the naming of the Stettler Learning Centre.

“We are this one space that you can come to that is safe, friendly and that really helps you in that continuous flow,” said Barritt, adding that there are opportunities for upgrading and tutoring as well to help students brush up and sharpen their skills in their quest for post-secondary study.

“They may need to brush up their computer skills because more and more of it relies on being online.”

There are also a fascinating range of practical workshops from Strategies to Relieve Stress & Anxiety an Body Language to Supporting Ourselves as Supporters and Wills and Estates.

“Every month, we have one week of free workshops that is called New Futures. It’s all about helping people who are already employment-ready, and it really focuses on things like interview skills, resume and cover letter development, and the job search process.

“Also, we have a program called the Essential Skills Boost program for people who aren’t quite employment-ready. For a lot of different reasons, there are people who weren’t successful in the K to Grade 12 system. They may still be reading, writing or working with numeracy skills that are at a Grade nine or lower level. We actually started this program just past January, and it focuses on those basic math, reading and writing skills. Plus, they can get into that New Futures program.

“We help them build those tangible skills, and around that comes more self confidence, too.”

Folks in the community who want to help others in their learning endeavours can sign up as tutors as well. Adults are needed to help out with math, reading, writing, computers and ESL

“We are recruiting tutors all the time,” Barritt said. “These are people in the community who give about one hour a week.”

For Barritt, learning is about expanding one’s horizons in a number of ways.

“It’s also about seeing people build their confidence and competence so they can be more active citizens,” she explained.

“When someone comes in our doors, we don’t look at them simply from a ‘learning’ point of view. We look at the whole person. What are the complexities in your life? What are the challenges? But also what are your aspirations and goals? Where do you want to be?”

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