A meeting of the Learning Ambassadors was held in West Limerick Resources in Newcastle West on 26th June. Adrienne O’Connell welcomed the group to West Limerick Resources and chaired the session as the host organisation for the meeting. This Learning Ambassadors meeting follows on from previous meetings held in Griffith College and Southill Hub; as well as the participation of the Learning Ambassadors at the key events of the Launch of the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival in Adare Heritage Centre and the launch of the Learning Ambassadors event in City Hall. The Learning Ambassadors were also involved in visiting various events during the Lifelong Learning Festival. On behalf of the Learning Limerick Steering Group, Yvonne Lane and Adrienne O’Connell thanked the ambassadors for their all their participation to date.
At the meeting the group reviewed the original aims for the Learning Ambassadors initiative that were drafted last February, and discussed the themes of: Who are Learning Limerick Ambassadors?; What is the role of a Learning Ambassador?; Why are Learning Ambassadors important? It was useful to recap on the role and to discuss the focus of the role for the coming months and over the next year. Learning Limerick Ambassadors are Limerick people from all walks of life, united by a common interest in promoting, developing and celebrating learning in all its forms. They are willing to share their experiences of formal and informal learning and are passionate supporters of the idea of lifelong learning. Learning Limerick Ambassadors pass on information and learning messages to their personal and/or professional networks; in their workplaces, homes and communities. Indeed, through participating in learning themselves and by so doing inspiring and empowering others to take part in learning activities.
The Ambassadors also shared some feedback on their experience to date. There was broad agreement that the project presents an opportunity not to hold onto what you have learned. It is rewarding to know you can enhance someone’s self-confidence in learning – ‘Success Leaves Traces’. There may be an opportunity to work on both advocacy and outreach as part of this initiative. The barriers to accessing learning particularly in rural communities were discussed, including the issues of transport and costs of transport. Men’s Sheds groups were discussed as perhaps providing opportunities for promoting the Learning Ambassadors initiative.
In relation to future plans for the Learning Ambassadors Initiative, the group shared a range of ideas. It was agreed that putting the Ambassadors’ stories in writing was important. They may be shared via a Newsletter, through Social Media, etc. It was agreed that it would be important for the ethos of the initiative for the Learning Ambassadors to be the story-tellers and to create the content; and to be both the interviewer and interviewee for short videos for example. The Learning Ambassadors could work with members of the Committee for this process of creating the content. Other items mentioned and that will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting will be the issues of data protection (e.g. for the Ambassadors’ stories) and the area of culture and the importance of being aware of cultural differences.
The group agreed to meet quarterly and are already looking forward to the next meeting and to commencing the process of capturing and sharing their stories.