Hello and welcome to Cheftalk, Julie.
I'm an enthusiastic amateur cook - and have been lucky to attend a lot of cooking courses all over Europe and the UK... they really helped with my techniques and understanding the importance of certain steps in a recipe!
Feel free to join in on any thread you find interesting, but for amateurs like you and me, the professional fora are read only (but I've been able to glean a lot of interesting information, simply from reading them!). Start your own topics if you would like to post a recipe or ask a question. The articles on here and the photographs and blogs are well-worth a look!