Community Learning Project

30 October 2019


30 October 2019


As part of the Trust’s communities programme, we are working in partnership with Bristol Community Learning, who work with adults who have few or no qualifications, to host an adult learning course on site.

Eight learners from across Bristol are participating in the nine-week, carpentry course. The group are developing their skills and building crates to help decorate the dockyard.

In the first week, learners found out more about Brunel’s SS Great Britain and had a guided tour of the ship. They also heard about the Trust’s volunteer programme and the different roles we offer. Learn a little more about three of our learners:

Ferdinand enjoyed woodwork during his time at school and is relishing the chance to learn new skills. His dream job would be as a boat builder. He finds the SS Great Britain exceptionally interesting and he has already applied to volunteer as he would be keen to keep up his relationship with the Trust and to help out when the course finishes. Having struggled with mental health in the past, Ferdinand is finding the course both enjoyable and helpful to his recovery. With his initiative and blossoming skills, he has recently been taken on part-time by a Cumberland-based boat repair and maintenance company.

Claudia is from Portugal and has a degree in publishing. Her last job was as a care worker but she is currently looking to begin something new. She is hoping to build up new skills on this course and is considering getting into volunteering.

Sophia enjoys the course as it is so accessible to beginners. This is her first community learning course. As an actor, she is keen to use the skills developed in the course to get involved in new areas of work, like set design, as well as being generally more self-sufficient in DIY at home.

More about the community programme

Claire is tutor to the group, and has an interesting story herself: having begun her working life in the television industry, she made a complete change of career path seven years ago to pursue an interest in furniture making. Claire trained up with Bristol Women’s Workshop, a charity dedicated to giving women of all experience levels the chance to gain skills in woodwork and DIY. Her progression from that point has seen her work on numerous projects and take on personal commissions, and she now enjoys sharing her skills with other learners.

Richard, the Development Tutor at Bristol Community Learning, said:

“It’s really exciting to be able to organise these kinds of courses for people. A lot of the courses we run are in schools and children’s centres and it’s something different for people to be able to contribute to the SS Great Britain and to be able to see how their work will contribute to the site.”

Bristol Community Learning help adults with few or no qualifications to gain skills and build confidence, so they can find more learning opportunities or work. You can find out more about the courses they run here.

About the SS Great Britain Trust

Leila Nicholas, Communities Officer at the SS Great Britain Trust, said:

“The Trust’s partnership with Bristol Community Learning is part of our communities programme, which has been running for a year. Through the programme, we have been running events at libraries and community centres and building partnerships with community groups.

“This course forms part of the Trust’s wider relationship with Bristol’s communities and schools. Our Golden Ticket scheme, for example, provides school children from deprived areas of Bristol a free visit with their family, while the Future Brunels programme inspires and encourages young school pupils to get more involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) through extra-curricular activities and experiences.”


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