"The old me would have loved lockdown. I’d have hidden myself away and enjoyed not speaking to anyone. For most of my life, I was told by others that I would never amount to anything. That nobody would ever want to employee me. I was painfully shy. It took a long time for me to let people in. When bad things happened to me, I wouldn’t tell a soul. If anyone ever paid me a compliment, I’d be out the door in a flash. Surely, they were talking about someone else?   

The WEA helped turn that round. I’ve really come out of my shell. I’d be put on the spot and made to talk about myself – something I’d never normally do. I realised that other people faced the same situation and felt rubbish about themselves too. I wasn’t alone in this. We just helped each other through really.  

I'm surrounded now by people that I trust. My confidence has grown. If you’d said to me 18 months ago that I’d be running my own charitable organisation, Everyday Enable, I’d have never believed you. But here I am, doing it every day."

Joanna in her office next to a deciduous tree.

I sometimes feel like Dorothy skipping along the Yellow Brick Road – a completely different person. My confidence has grown!


"There’s so much going on now. I’m a trustee of another new charity called Second Chance Ostomy Yorkshire, sole Chair of Selby Big Local and working for Selby Abbey to improve their access. They say things come round full circle. I’m now running a taster session on Disability Awareness for the WEA and I created the diversity game show for the WEA Festival of Diversity.  

Launching my own charity wasn’t an easy decision, all the same. The creeping doubts came back. Am I worth it? Would anybody listen? But I’m so glad I did. I’ve always said, if I can help one person find confidence, then that’s enough. To know that I have helped others come through the situation I faced is absolutely incredible."

Video transcript

So I'm Jo, Joanne Scott, and I have won the Student Career Success award.

I first heard about WEA probably about two years ago now. I was talking about one course but since then I've attended many more.

I don't think i could pick out a favourite but I think the one that's helped me the most has been about building confidence, because at one point I had no confidence whatsoever in myself and now, well here I am. You know i couldn't pinpoint a point where I thought that's when my confidence improved it just did. You know it's quite bizarre really you're learning without realizing you're learning and you're changing without realizing you're changing.

At the moment I've set up my own organisation. I would never ever have done that because I didn't believe I could, and I didn't believe that I was worthy of that. Right now I do. I do believe it and it is because of the courses I've attended through WEA.

It's made such an impact everybody's noticing the difference in me even down to what I'm wearing. You know, this is colour i would never have worn colour but now I'm just like yeah do you know what this is me and I'm comfortable like this and it is down to things like the WEA courses.

It was such a shock, like that my hands clasped to my face the tears started streaming down my face. I was an absolute mess which i just walked around and shocked them for the rest of the day and it was humbling, it was extremely humbling because to think that somebody else recognised what I've done and what I'm achieving it's absolutely amazing. I'm still in shock, but it's very humbling and it makes me feel very proud which I've never been able to say before.

Joanna was the winner of the Career success award at the WEA Awards 2021.

Lady in yellow jumper learning with the WEA on her laptop

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