Judie Holliday
Area Education Manager - Highlands & Islands, Inverness
I’ve been working in adult learning, first in Canada and now in Scotland, for nearly 30 years. My experiences have taught me the importance of being flexible, accommodating and responsive in working with partners and planning learning in communities. I’ve learned that the most of important phrase in my vocabulary is ‘Of course we can!’
The WEA provides the unique opportunity in adult learning to really listen to what learners need, and create programmes that answer that need. Our strength lies in our ability to listen and respond quickly to what our learners tell us they want from us. We work hard to shorten that distance between a need being identified and that first day of learning. Our multi-partner and multi-project approach means that we always get the best for our learners; we can make projects fit learners instead of the other way around.
In Highland, we’ve run a number of empowering and educational programmes for women, including our [email protected] project which has been running for over 10 years. The WEA has demonstrated a real commitment to getting women’s voices heard across the Highlands. Every year, we offer our learners more opportunities to learn and grow, and they reward us for it with their enthusiasm. I’ve recently had two successful women in very different roles tell me how important the project was to them in earlier stages of their careers. The fact that they remember the WEA so fondly, and that they think to tell me about it, really speaks to how much WEA in Highland has meant to them.
Nothing happens in the Highlands without a partnership approach. We have to work together to bridge the barriers of distance, deprivation, and rural isolation. I want to see the WEA in Highland become an integral rung in the learner progression ladder, with both learners and other providers looking to us for the kind of learning we’re so good at – the learning that addresses both the confidence and skills of people wanting to move forward in their lives.
Contact details
WEA Scotland, 1st Floor, Academy House, 42 Academy Street, Inverness, IV1 1JT, Tel: 01463 710 577, Email: [email protected]