Free community courses lead to University study for Splott student


The Widening Access Team at Cardiff University, in partnership with Continuing & Professional Education, offer over 40 free short courses each year as part of their Live Local Learn Local (LLLL) community outreach programme. LLLL is designed and run with Communities First Cluster groups in Cardiff and the south east Valleys areas. The courses have enabled adult learners to improve their confidence, update their CVs, progress to higher education, and gain employment.

One of our students Alice Shing, a mum of two young children from the Splott area of Cardiff, first became aware of the courses through her local Communities First centre.

Alice used to work with adults with learning disabilities and has an interest in in learning and education. Since starting her own family her interest in children’s education has grown, so she decided to attend the free “Helping children learn” and “Child’s play” courses.

Successful completion of these courses led to the free and accredited “Women in their communities” course, where she felt she gained valuable skills and confidence. Alice started campaigning for positive changes in the community, in particular for her local library, and has written and delivered public speeches, organised a public meeting, run a petition, and designed campaign leaflets.

Since attending these courses, Alice has started working as a volunteer teaching assistant and has enrolled on Cardiff University’s Pathway to a Degree in Social Sciences, which is a route to an undergraduate degree in Social Science at Cardiff University.

Alice speaks warmly of the opportunities offered by the Widening Access Team: “Just have a go, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  If you live in a Communities First area, it’s even free – there are so many courses to choose from, to suit different interests and abilities.  Many of the courses are run in local learning centres, so you may not even have to travel far – and there are often childcare facilities for students with young children. Thank you so much Communities First, and Cardiff University – I never thought at my age I would be “going back to school” and enjoying it so much, but here I am – and it gives me joy.  Those courses changed my life! ”

Find out more about the work of the Widening Access team by visiting their website.