Goodbye Harborne Hall

18 08 2007

Harborne HallI attended my last course at Harborne Hall this week – Training Skills – and realised that what I was told back in February about Harborne becoming almost a second home was true.  In an odd way I’m going to miss the 1920’s faux tudor pile, it’s become an integral part of my journey to volunteerdom.  The courses I’ve done have been really good on the whole, and the last two especially would have cost a fortune if I’d tried to get equivalent training from the private sector.  SkWID and training skills have really boosted my confidence about dealing with people and training them, which is good as 3 out of the 4 items on my placement description include training, and the other will need systems analysis in a 3rd world, development environment – so there will be a lot of soft skills needed.

Other great things about the VSO courses are the chance to meet other prospective volunteers and to think about my placement. The trainers are all returned volunteers, generally having volunteered repeatedly.  This means that they can give concrete examples from their experience, and relate to your fears and concerns; they’ve all sat on the other side. 

The other volunteers are great, an incredible mix of ages, experience and skills.  The youngest I met was an 18 year old heading to a year in China on the youth for development program.  She received her A-level results on the training skills course (5 grade A’s!) and will be heading to Cambridge when she gets back.  At the other end of the scale were the lovely couple who met volunteering in Ghana 40 years ago and were about to head off for their 4th session volunteering.  I’ve met a lot of teachers, but also nurses, a forester, a PR consultant, managers and management consultants, social workers and other IT professionals amongst others.  I’ve been really impressed by them all, and liked almost all of them.  They are a great set of people, interesting, intelligent, articulate, curious, open-minded and positive.  These aren’t people who sit around moaning about the state of the world but people who get up off their arses and try to do something about it.

All I need to do now is organise myself to close up my life here and that plane on September 16th.  I’m starting to feel quite excited.




2 responses

21 05 2008

Hi, enjoyed your blog and it has been useful for me to read. Attending first course at Harborne this weekend and meant to be coming to Ghana in Sept! Excited and scared all at once.

21 05 2008
Tim Little

Thanks Jenette, good luck and enjoy yourself. Perhaps I’ll see you in September, although I should be reachng the end of my placement then.

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