Caryn Matthews – Assistant CEO Citizens Advice Liverpool

I have always been interested in learning and training since I attended my first training event as a member of the CPSA union many, many years ago. This was delivered by an organisation called the WEA (Workers Educational Association), which introduced me to a different way of learning as it used participant involvement, where we learned from each other as well as the trainer.

This led me as an adult to get actively involved in the WEA both as a learner and subsequently as a WEA tutor. In fact it was the WEA who paid for me to attain the City and Guilds 7303 which enabled me to then deliver training to adults.

Over my working life I have embraced learning whether in or outside work, not just for me, but for family and friends, and this varied from dressmaking with friends to astronomy with my late father. I believe that meeting and learning with others not only increased my skills and knowledge but also provided me with a wider understanding through different people’s opinions and attitudes.

Some fifteen years ago I embarked on one of my major learning events in my career and that was the successful completion and attainment of a Masters degree in Business Studies. This was done on a part time basis over a three year period and gave me a greater understanding of the world of business from finance, planning and delivery of all business elements.

Unfortunately over the last five years I have not undertaken much learning, so when the idea of an Advice Skills Academy was mooted I was very excited and volunteered to lead on this initiative as it would not only benefit me but also my colleagues and our volunteers.

Working on the Advice Skills Academy with Helen Simpson and Liz Reed has done one major thing for me and that is helped me re-evaluate what learning is and move culturally from a training concept to a “Learning environment” using the 70/20/10 model, which is groundbreaking, and the key to an adult learning environment.

Finally, I didn’t think I would ever say I looked forward to an email, as I receive about 100-150 per week, but I actually look out for the monthly Advice Skills Academy newsletter as it is a quick reference to what is out there and I can`t resist having a quick look at the Bitesize Learning, whether it’s a stress busting quiz or an article on “stretch assignments”, so thank you Liz and Matt.