New Sheffield-based scheme to help people tackle life challenges

Written by Lia Desai

A brand new six month peer-led programme is being held in Sheffield encouraging people to come together and explore ways to tackle personal or societal challenges. 

The Sheffield Pioneers, the first Enrol Yourself Learning Marathon in Sheffield, is a multidisciplinary learning accelerator, which looks to enrol a diverse group of 12 people from across the city.

Participants can use their skills, experience and resources to support each other in collective learning. The aim is to pool their experiences and networks towards their professional and personal development – whether they’re growing a skill set, a venture or an idea.

Stella McKenna, 32, is a community builder and facilitator hosting the Sheffield Pioneers, who took part in a Learning Marathon in 2018 while working in London.

Ms McKenna said: “The project started in London. Now I’m bringing the programme to my home-town Sheffield.

“The programme is about peer learning, and using your skills to create projects together. Part of the magic is working as a group.”

She explained that each member of the group has a learning question or goal that they work towards. It can be a personal or professional goal like changing career or learning a skill. Or something to work on within society, like launching a project.

Ms McKenna said: “Someone in my group wanted to improve her skills in design. She used the six months to build a network, improve her skillset and create a portfolio. 

“Part of the power is making a commitment to achieve a goal, which propels you forward as you commit a lot of time and energy into it.”

She added: “The group is a different type of relationship. Friends and family tend to be blindly supportive because that’s their job. Your peers in the Learning Marathon will be supportive, but also challenge you, which can help you see a different route to the end goal.

“Ultimately, I went on a personal journey on how to create a community of like -minded women. I did a lot of research on making friends.

“My group was hugely diverse; different nationalities and ages. I heard a lot about their experiences on how to make new friends. They’re still a community of people that I can access on a regular basis for advice and questions.”

The application deadline is on Wednesday 21st April and the programme is set to start on 22nd May. Bursaries are available.

You can read more on The Sheffield Pioneers on this blog written by Stella.

Written by Lia Desai

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