Interview with Santino Fragola at Wandsworth Professional Development Centre.
Head of Lifelong Learning, Wandsworth Council
“It’s such a brilliant space and you’ve got everything you need to concentrate on the reason you’re here.”
Wandsworth takes lifelong learning seriously, which is why every year more than 10,000 people benefit from courses, many of them accredited, to improve their health and boost their careers.
“It starts at Early Years and involves all ages and stages up to the oldest learners, we even have 14 learners in their 90s,”explains Santino Fragola who heads the busy Lifelong Learning team. There are more than 650 courses on offer to Wandsworth residents – ranging from motorbike repair through to first aid suitable for young parents; there are special courses for apprentices and also sessions designed for employees needing CPD to keep abreast of what’s happening locally, regionally and nationally. Plus there are courses for the retired. “It’s important for everybody to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date or develop skills, but most fit into health, wellbeing or employability, and some concentrate on both,”adds Santino, 52, who moved to Tooting for this job.
One of the venues Wandsworth Lifelong Learning utilises is in Earlsfield. “This building works brilliantly as a training and learning environment. It is award winning, has an amazing view and is a calm space for thinking and reflecting. Learners need to feel safe, relaxed and comfortable and they can do that at Wandsworth Professional Development Centre because this is a welcoming business-like environment with very good customer service,”says Santino who has now lived in Tooting for the past 16 years. “Lonely Planet describes Tooting as ‘one of the 10 coolest neighbourhoods in the world’, (August 2017) but, seriously, living in the borough gives you a bit of an edge because you understand it like a local and experience all the services,” he says explaining that the 270 and 44 are the buses to use.
“At first I thought this location on the Earlsfield/Tooting border was difficult to get to, but once I visited, I found it really easy and it’s a relatively short walk from Earlsfield station,” adds Santino who knows the power of location. But he likes to book courses for this centre not just because it’s well-sited or close to uber-cool Tooting, but because, “it’s such a brilliant space and you’ve got everything you need to concentrate on the reason you’re here.”
To find out more about how you can access Wandsworth Lifelong Learning’s services, check out our Guide here>>