We’re delighted to announce four Adult Learners’ Week Awards for the WEA this year.
Three WEA learners and one regional project have been recognised in the national awards for achievements in outstanding learning, coordinated annually every May by NIACE, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.
The awards celebrate adult learning across the UK and inspire individuals to discover how learning can improve their lives.
WEA tutors across the UK nominated the learners and educational projects that they feel are deserving of recognition.
We’re proud to have four nominations chosen by the NIACE awards panels to receive awards this year.
Congratulations to all our winners and all those nominated in this year’s awards, and in receipt of achievement certificates.
Julie Harrison from Doncaster
Julie, 44 returned to education with the WEA to help her get a job and is now training to be a WEA tutor. Her passion for learning has been acknowledged with a Regional Individual Learner Award in Yorkshire and Humber.
Julie, from Rossington in Doncaster, became unemployed in 2008 and chose to gain some qualifications in order to broaden her prospects. She started with a WEA First Aid course and an entry level three numeracy course as the course fit easily around her busy life as a mother. She then went on to achieve level two in numeracy and literacy and has now signed up to a Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector qualification.
Her dedication to improving her situation hasn’t gone unnoticed and Julie hopes that her qualifications will help her get a job.
Julie says of her achievements, ‘I have attended many courses over the years which I hope will give me a fighting chance for future employment.’
Naseem Bashir from Newcastle
Naseem, 39 arrived in the UK with a basic grasp of English but through learning with WEA and her work as a volunteer, has helped others in her community improve their lives. She will be awarded with the Outstanding Individual Learner in the North East Award.
When Naseem arrived in 1996, she aimed to work in childcare but knew that she needed to improve her English. With the WEA she undertook a number of courses including parenting champions and tackling racial inequality.
She was able to take courses to fit around her childcare needs – the WEA also helped with transport costs and childcare so that Naseem could participate with learning.
She is a highly regarded member of the committee at her local Angelou Centre where she first volunteered and has now secured employment at the crèche.
Naseem is also a Learning Champion, which means she helps encourage other adults to think about gain access to learning opportunities.
Talking about her learning journey Naseem commented, ‘The effect of learning gave me confidence as a woman, mother and learner. I am now able to support my children with their studies and share knowledge about the wider world.’
Kristine Michael from Brighton
Kristine has been selected for the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Award in South East, which is sponsored by Trinity College, London.
She lived in Germany for 17 years before coming to the UK with her husband when she became unemployed. They had two young children and they experienced problems as neither of them could speak English.
With the WEA Kristine started to learn English, with convenient classes she could fit around looking after her children. She successfully completed every course and passed first time, progressing to a Level 2 English course which has enabled her to get a part-time job.
Kristine says of her experience, ‘The English course has changed a lot for me. I’m more motivated to work hard to have a better life.’
Digital Activist Inclusion Network (DAIN) in Nottingham and the East Midlands
The DAIN project in East Midlands has been awarded the European Social Fund (ESF) Inspiring Learning Project Award as part of Adult Learners’ Week.
The three year project, set up in 2009 trained 105 volunteers (Digital Activists) to engage 1,200 adults in the local community in using technology, develop skills and develop strategies to bridge the digital divide.
DAIN partnered with local adult education providers, libraries, refugee centres and faith groups to reach wide demographic including ethnic minorities, women, young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and older people.
The ESF funded project provided a 20 hour training programme for the volunteers who are then offered Information Advice and Guidance, helping many progress in further education and employment.
Mike Attwell, WEA Director for East and West Midlands, commented on the award, ‘We are delighted to win this award. DAIN has demonstrated that a different approach which involves the target community in design and delivery of activities can successfully engage with those experiencing digital and social exclusion. We look forward to continuing to develop this work throughout the region.’
The DAIN team have set up a special blog to record their experiences of winning the Adult Learners Week award.
Congratulations to all the WEA winners and nominees this year. You can read more about the awards and all the national and regional winners, from Monday 14th May on the Adult Learners’ Website.