Having been the archivist at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust over much of her career, Mairi McDonald brings a broad range of skills, the most valued of which at this start up phase is her ability to ask the right question at the right moment.
She lectures at Birmingham University from time to time on various specialist matters to do with Shakespeare's life and works (e.g. the script used, and its interpretation) to PhD students.
She was invited to join the board of the Life Skills Network in 2015. We are so glad she accepted.
Sreela Banerjee spent most of 2014 putting together a life skills course which she delivered to the staff of the Waterloo job shop that summer. Through 2015 she has been putting these into e-learning format, as a result of the feedback from that pilot.
The courses on offer at present arise from the 2015 original series. Sreela comes from a background in the public sector, followed by the City, and then corporate consulting.
She is one of the Network's founder members.
Charles Gillams brings to the board a wide ranging experience base.
A chartered accountant, Charles has spent time in the City, in consulting, and has served as head of best value and the environment in the Gloucestershire County Council.
He serves as our company secretary and finance director.
How we started
When Charles Gillams and Sreela Banerjee noticed the gaps in knowledge and skills prevalent in so many companies, they decided to see if there was some way to fill in the gaps. What they had noticed was mainly from their experience in smaller companies.
Subject based learning was extending its tendrils right up to the edges of education - so that when people started work, and a need for joined up thinking came up, people both young and old were feeling challenged.
Sreela developed a four part course, which for the want of a better expression she called a 'life skills' course - a blend of core skills and essential knowledge, pointing out the joins between the individual and the economy. She took this course to the Waterloo Job Shop (WJS), (a Department of Work and Pensions sub-contractor) in 2015, and it is mainly as a result of their feedback that these initial courses have been born.
They wanted something which was served up in small sections, and didn't need someone in person to deliver the content. This set of three courses is the initial result.
The courses have been test driven within the families of the immediate contributors. They have been left without any tests, so that individual institutions can set their own tests (they will be tailored to each organisation's needs) and young people or their parents buying the block of three courses on a one off basis don't have to jump through test hoops, since they don't have inspectors to answer to.
Everyone is allowed a full year's access to the material so that they can continue learning and verifying what was learned, once they actually start work. This was specifically asked for by the WJS.