Know Friendly Neighbourhood Learning Officer, Sarah Duncan-Jones
In the humble Neighbourhood Learning Centre at Severn Road which was once upon a time a school, sits a cheerful lady from Penarth. She is Sarah Duncan-Jones, the Neighbourhood Learning Officer for Cardiff Council.
“I had a perfectly straightforward childhood, though as a daughter of a well-known character. When you are in a smallish community where your father is very well-known, well-liked and respected generally, the bad thing is that you had to keep a low-profile! Thankfully I didn’t go to the same school that he worked at.”
With a degree in history from Cardiff University, she has worked in the advertising industry, as a teacher, as a tutor before settling into this job.
No sore ears
Dealing with people and catering to their needs to keep up with the globalized world is basically what Sarah does for a living. Doesn’t she get tired of handling it every working day of her life?
“I try to be pleasant always and keep a bit of personal space, listen and to try not to react to what things they say that may not be very nice… and try to understand, that whatever they are going through is something you don’t make a judgement about. You only see a part of people and you don’t know what’s going on in their home and you try and post people to either organisations or to ways of getting help.” says Sarah, who describes herself as “quite a communicable person.”
So what happens when the load is too much?
“We all get tired at times, but I try not to get irritated. It’s not my job to get irritated. It is my job NOT to get irritated. Though if I am irritated I would be irritated in the privacy of my home. “
Stress-busters for Sarah:
- Drinking wine
- Whining on the phone about her work
The strike on 30th november
The Learning Centre is participating in the nation-wide strike initiated by GMB, one of the UK’s largest unions. The Centre will be closed, but the classes will be made up for on a later date. “I understand what the issues are. We have to be very careful about what we say, with the enquiries that are going on at the moment.” says Sarah in relation to the strike.
Keeping Cardiff’s skills World-Class
The Neighbourhood Learning Centre has courses in Personal and work-related Development, Arts and Crafts, Languages, IT and Computer Skills as also Counselling, Parenting Classes. They cater to the needs of adults and equip them for a better career, a better life. It is one of many such Learning Centres across the City.
“One of the really nice things of the job is that you know that each day is going to be different. I think that in this job it is important to be available to people. When people say that I might be busy, I say that I’m never too busy to provide the time and the resource for people. I deal with this all the time and I know a lot of people so I think it’s quite important to be available.”