North Tyneside’s adult learners and the tutors who support them were celebrated at an awards evening last week.
The annual awards, taking place for the 14th time, honour the hard work and commitment of the inspirational learners who have overcome barriers and improved their life chanced through learning.
Supported by North Tyneside’s specialist Education and Skills service, six adult learners received awards and commemorations on the night.
The first award was presented to English and Maths learner of the year Declan Wilson who was praised for turning around his previous education experience and made a concerted effort to attend and engage in lessons and achieve his qualifications. Since completing his qualifications, he’s moved onto full time employment and has transformed his life.
Apprenticeships are a vital way to support young people into work, and the Apprentice of the Year award winner Fiona Collings was celebrated for her tireless work to complete her Children and Young Peoples qualification while also completing her English and ICT Functional Skills awards.
Fiona works within the residential childcare sector supporting young people to integrate and develop vital life skills. Speaking of her success, her tutor Kim Nash praised her for overcoming many personal and professional challenges to succeed in her education.
The evening showcased how North Tyneside’s residents show resilience and commitment to gain their qualifications, and one of the biggest success stories of the night was Adult Learner of the Year award winner Elizabeth Craggs.
Elizabeth has overcome severe physical pain due to her condition to complete her qualifications to improve her career prospects. Even when faced with struggles to get to her lessons, Elizabeth showed defiance and is now working in a higher paid, more technical role, something she dreamed of.
The final award of the evening went to the ‘Group Learners of the Year’ who are a true embodiment of how education can change a person’s life.
Earlier this year North Tyneside opened its homes to refugees from Ukraine who had been displaced due to a devastating war in their country. Since arriving in the borough, a group of Ukrainian joined our English course to learn the language to support them to access jobs, feel at home in our region, and to learn more about our culture and values.
Despite being forced to leave their homes and many of their loved ones behind, the learners worked hard in difficult and unusual circumstances to make the best of their situations and to improve their English skills. They joined weekly conversation classes to gain confidence in written and spoken English, to help with their basic needs including speaking to teachers, using public transport, and applying for jobs.
The full list of winners is as follows:
The English and Maths Learner of the year – Winner Declan Wilson
Jeanette Hedley Apprentice Learner of the year – Winner Fiona Collings
Sandra Girvan Adult learner of the year – Winner Elizabeth Cragg and commended in this category - Maria Soplintai
Group Learners of the year – Winners – Ukrainian learners and commended in this category - Working Roots Painting and Decoration Team.
If you’re interested in finding out more about North Tyneside’s employment and skills service, or if you’d like to see if it has a course for you, visit it’s website: https://www.skillsnorthtyneside.org.uk/
Photo details: The adult learner winners pictured with Jacqueline Laughton, Assistant Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council and Cllr Pat Oliver, Chairman of North Tyneside Council (both centre).