Across our time banks, there are many opportunities for people to learn new skills. Our woodworking project and arts group employ staff to help participants develop their abilities whilst the allotment projects use informal skill sharing between participants to help each other learn new techniques to grow plants successfully. Social education and individual learning are at the heart of what we do on a daily basis both in our activities and one to one exchanges. For example, someone may want to improve their Spanish or master a sewing machine and another Time Bank participant in their area may have these skills. The two are brought together by the Time Broker for that area and so the skill exchanges continue.
The process of learning new skills has been shown to also have other major benefits for people including increased self esteem and better social engagement. ‘J’ a new mentor in the Times 2 Maths mentoring prison project has discussed how sharing his knowledge of Maths with his learner had brought him out of himself. J said he hadn’t realised how quiet he had been before and that by teaching some one else he said “I feel much more confident”.