Volunteers' Stories: Birmingham Adult Education Service To celebrate National Volunteers' Week, Birmingham Adult Education Service (BAES) would like to acknowledge our wonderful volunteers and thank them for their invaluable contributions towards the progress and achievements of our learners in various subjects, at different levels from beginners to advanced. Without that additional support, many learners would struggle to achieve, which is why volunteers are vital to our service. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, ages and backgrounds, with a variety of skills, qualifications and most importantly, empathy and patience for which BAES staff and learners are very appreciative. Volunteer support contributes immensely to learners achieving high level qualifications, life skills, personal goals, and most importantly, progression to paid employment, as well as Access to Further Education. Equally, many of our volunteers gain valuable skills and experience towards future careers in adult education and other related learning support environments. Volunteering also provides a great opportunity to 'give something back' to the community! Catriona's story "I am Catriona and I have been a volunteer with BAES for several years on the ESOL and Preparation for Employment courses. My working life was spent in social work so I am familiar with the many different communities in the area which help make Birmingham and the Black Country such a good place to live. In retirement it is important to have the opportunity to give something back but it is of value at any stage of life. Volunteers are very well supported in BAES and it is a most worthwhile and rewarding experience which I can thoroughly recommend." Tina's story "My name is Tina, I am originally from the Philippines and I moved to the UK in 2007. I am a mother of four and a fulltime carer for my husband. I took a few courses in BAES and acquired qualifications in L1 intro to Health and Social Care, L2 EYFS, L3 Diploma Support Teaching and Learning, L1 and L2 Computerised Accounts and L1 IT Skills for work. I enjoyed learning despite of my busy life. Taking courses in BAES allows me to learn and broaden my knowledge. I decided to volunteer in BAES to help the tutor and share my knowledge to the other learners like me. It’s more ideal for me to volunteer for a course that I know I’m good at. Gives me confidence to help the learners efficiently. Volunteering in BAES is quite enjoyable because you will meet different people. I would like to thank BAES team especially Anolin for trusting me and giving me the chance to support her class." If you would like to find out more about volunteering with BAES please email Sona Odogwu (BAES Volunteer Organiser) [email protected] work mobile: 07592 586471 or visit www.learnbaes.ac.uk/volunteering We would love to hear from you!