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Online payments: essential information

Posted on: 14 March 2016

Pixabay keyboardIf you are claiming a discount on one of our courses or making a payment that is less than 100% of the full cost of the course, due to technical issues this service is currently not available through our online payment system.

Instead, please phone or visit one of our centres with your course information to hand, and our team there will be able to apply the discount and take payment for your course.

We are working to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Be inspired: courses starting 9 to 26 May

Posted on: 25 April 2017

It’s never too late to take up a hobby or get back in to learning something you used to love! We have a variety of courses starting soon across Devon, including photography, ESOL, and British Sign Language.

Read on for courses starting between 9 and 26 May. Use our online course search to find more courses in your area.

It’s important to enrol at least one week before your course starts. Our courses do not generally run over half term – please check individual course details with your local centre.

See a course you’d like to do but it’s not in your area? Contact us and we’ll see what we can do.


Pottery: improvers, Bideford, Tuesdays 9 May to 20 June 6.30-9pm

Total communication using BSL, Bideford, Tuesdays 9 May to 13 June 4.30-6.30pm

Paper clay jewellery making, Bideford, Saturday 20 May 10am-3.30pm


Curtain making workshop, Exmouth, Tuesday 16 May 10am-3pm

Needle felting workshop, Exmouth, Wednesday 24 May 10am-12noon


Sewing and garment making: sew whatever you like, Newton Abbot, Tuesdays 9 to 23 May 7-9pm

Spanish: for your holidays, Newton Abbot, Wednesdays 10 May to 21 June 7-9pm

Jewellery making: for all, Totnes, Thursdays 11 May to 15 June 10am-12.30pm

Italian: beginners, Newton Abbot, Wednesdays 17 May to 12 July 7-9pm

Digital photography, Totnes, Saturday 20 May 10am-3.30pm

ESOL: English for speakers of other languages, Newton Abbot, Thursday 25 May to 31 August 6-9pm



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Technical issues with online course search

Posted on: 18 April 2017

Some users may experience problems with our online course search tool due to technical issues with our website. We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

In the meantime, if you are having trouble with the course search and would like any information about our courses or to enrol, please contact us by phone or email, or call into one of our centres, where we will be able to help you.


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Enjoy a free leisure course for Government research

Posted on: 10 April 2017

Fancy learning for free? We are running a special series of free courses in subjects including arts, crafts, cooking and languages, as part of a Government research project looking at ways to improve community mental health and wellbeing.

You are eligible to join one of these courses if you:

  • are 19 years or over
  • have not taken part in any adult learning in the past 12 months
  • meet the research criteria, which we will discuss with you.

Here’s how it works:

  • First, get in touch with your local centre to book a chat with one of our team where you will answer some research questions about your mood and wellbeing.
  • Your answers will tell us if you are eligible to take part in the research. If you are, you can choose and enrol on one of the project courses.
  • We will measure your wellbeing before, during and after your course, and will share the results with the Department for Education.
  • Once your course has finished, you can come to any of our free follow-up sessions to support your mental health.

The project courses are running at our centres on various dates until the summer. The range of courses varies at each centre, so contact your local centre to find out what they are offering.

Each participant may take part in one course only. A total of 300 people can take part in the project.

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We maintain our ‘Good’ Ofsted rating

Posted on: 3 April 2017

We are celebrating after maintaining our Good rating from Ofsted, following an inspection on 28 February and 1 March.

Over the two days, HM inspectors met with managers, tutors and other staff, visited lessons, talked to learners and reviewed key information such as evidence of safeguarding and reports on learners’ satisfaction with their courses.

In his report, HM Inspector Steven Tucker praised our “clear focus on improving the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Devon.”

He continued: “Inspectors found that teachers deliver courses that improve people’s literacy and mathematical skills, improve their chances of progressing into employment and contribute to improvements in health and well-being.

“Managers evaluate new initiatives well and take bold steps to find ways of using education and training to improve people’s lives.

“Most learners on English and mathematics courses make good progress and develop a range of skills that improve their lives. Learners who are studying or planning to get a new job reported how the English courses have developed their writing skills. Several employed learners, who had previously been unable to complete forms or record their work, explained how they can now fill in the forms their employers require.”

This inspection was the first one carried out since we were judged to be good in April 2013.

Following publication of the report, Learn Devon’s Operations Manager Nicholas Child said:

“We’re delighted by Ofsted’s report, which highlights the many ways our courses help improve the lives of people in Devon. It is confirmation of the excellent and innovative work staff and delivery partners carry out to support learners in achieving their goals. We look forward to continuing to develop the service to further benefit individuals and communities across the county.”

You can read the full inspection report on the Ofsted website.

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Maths and English courses – information drop-in events

Posted on: 17 March 2017

Are you thinking about joining a Learn Devon maths or English course? Would you like to know more about what our maths and English courses are like?

Then come along to one of our maths and English drop-in events in Newton Abbot and Totnes:

Newton Abbot, at The Passmore Edwards Centre, Tuesday 18 April, 2-7pm 

Totnes, at The Mansion, Tuesday 25 April, 2-7pm

We will be holding a presentation about our maths and English courses and a tutor will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about learning with us.

If you have time you will also be able to do an assessment so we can get you on the right course. Alternatively, you can do this another time.

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Barber from Learn Devon-funded trainee scheme is ‘shining example’

Posted on: 1 March 2017

Deaf barber Joel, who has graduated from a Learn Devon-funded trainee scheme at Hair@Academy in Exeter, has been hailed a ‘shining example’ to other deaf young people for his mentoring of budding deaf hairdressers.

Read the full story on the Exeter Deaf Academy website. Please note, Learn Devon is not responsible for the content on external websites.

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“I am enjoying my time working in an office”

Posted on: 17 January 2017

Exmouth-based Apprentice Paige Dempster tells us what she’s learned in her first few months with Learn Devon…

Sitting on the front desk in reception of The Kennaway Centre, I’ve gained so much experience.

I’ve quickly got the hang of daily duties, from enrolling learners to producing posters to promote new courses.

I have learned how to use software to process our learner’s information, deal with payments and prepare course folders for new courses starting.

I also recently had the opportunity to redesign the spring 2017 courses guide that we give to the public to inform them of our courses.

My daily responsibilities include answering the phone to customers and partners we work with, providing tutors with paperwork they may need for their learners and running reports to show our current courses.

I have loved learning on the job so far. As I am completing a Customer Service NVQ, I have been able to interact with customers face to face and quickly get an understanding of how we work and what sorts of things are expected of us.

I would like to give a big thank you to the rest of the team and my line manager in reception for guiding me through my first few months. I feel like I have gained a lot of confidence and am enjoying my time working in an office. I am sure I can only progress further.

Interested in apprenticeships?

Read more blog posts from our apprentices.

Find out more about apprenticeships with Learn Devon.


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Have your say in our Learner Survey

Posted on: 22 December 2016

have-your-sayHave you been on a Learn Devon course? Please take a few minutes to give us your feedback about your learning experience in our survey.

Your answers will be very helpful to us as we continually look to improve the service.

Start the survey

The survey will remain open – you can fill it in whenever you like, and as many times as you like, throughout the academic year. Many thanks for taking the time.

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Celebrate your learning at our special events

Posted on: 20 December 2016


Award winners at our 2016 Bideford Learner Celebration

Have you been on a course with us this term? Join us at one of our Learner Celebration events next summer to celebrate your learning!

We are holding the events in Tavistock, Totnes, Bideford and Exmouth.

You’ll be able to enjoy a presentation of awards to learners nominated by our tutors for their outstanding progress or achievements. There will also be an exhibition of learners’ work and light refreshments.

Contact your local Learn Devon centre to register your interest in attending. There are limited places available, and we will confirm your place in June 2017.



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Trainee hairdressing scheme changes lives in Exeter

Posted on: 20 December 2016


Left to right: Mary Pugsley (Hair@theAcademy owner), Vicci Wood (Traineeship Workplace Link Adviser), Abbey Peach (Apprentice), Nicki Mills (Hair Boutique Style Director and Company Founder), Shaun Thornburgh (Hair Boutique Managing Director) and Nick Child (Learn Devon Operations Manager)

Two long-term unemployed young mums from Exeter are embarking on new careers in hairdressing thanks to Learn Devon.

Both Nik Langmead, who is working at Saks in Princesshay, and Abbey Peach, who is at The Hair Boutique on Musgrave Row, started as trainees and have now been offered full-time apprenticeships.

They were offered the apprenticeships after graduating from a traineeship scheme run by Hair@theAcademy, a salon at Exeter Deaf Academy that provides training to disadvantaged young people.

The scheme is funded by Learn Devon.

To complete the scheme, the trainees achieved level two diplomas in hair and beauty, and spent 100 hours at their salon placements learning on the job.

Nik Langmead said:

“Doing a traineeship with Hair@theAcademy has changed my life. I have learned hair and beauty skills in such a friendly and encouraging environment, and found confidence and professionalism within myself.”


From left to right: Mary Pugsley (Hair@theAcademy owner), Tom Wilson (Saks owner), Nik Langmead (Apprentice), Vicci Wood (Traineeship Workplace Link Adviser), Annie Raine (Learn Devon Quality and Performance Manager)

Tom Wilson, owner of Saks in Exeter, said:

“We are lucky to have found a talented apprentice in Nik. I cannot praise her highly enough. From day one, she has had an incredible work ethic and such a positive impact on our team. We thoroughly enjoy having her as part of our permanent team.”

Abbey Peach said:

“I am grateful for the opportunities I have received from doing my training at Hair@theAcademy, and also that The Hair Boutique has offered me an apprenticeship. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to work in a salon environment and learning new things.”

Shaun Thornburgh, Managing Director at The Hair Boutique, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with Hair@theAcademy and Learn Devon to help young people who are looking to work in the hairdressing industry. Attracting the right staff is critical to our success, and apprentices are fundamental to the future growth of our business. Seeing Abbey come through this programme and become an employee has been very rewarding.”

Four other long-term unemployed adults have also graduated from the traineeship. They have since gone on to apprenticeships, study for maths and English qualifications, work part time or undertake a higher qualification.

Mary Pugsley, who owns Hair@theAcademy, said:

“Life-changing work is being done in Exeter to re-engage adult learners into a recognised training programme and enable them to get back into work. With the support of their salons, Nik and Abbey have made a seamless journey from education to employment and are well on their way to becoming successful hairdressers.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learn Devon, said:

“Congratulations to Nik and Abbey for completing their traineeships and starting their apprenticeships. I wish them luck in their careers.

“This successful scheme shows how dedicated Learn Devon, Hair@theAcademy and the salon teams are to providing opportunities for young people to gain workplace experience, develop skills and take their next steps into employment. Without their commitment, these opportunities would not exist.”

Learn Devon will be funding more courses at Hair@theAcademy in the future. Anyone who is interested should contact Learn Devon and we will pass their details on to Hair@theAcademy.

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