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Learner Achievement Awards continue to inspire

Celebrating the success of adult learning in West Berkshire, they showcase stories of incredible determination

Posted by: Communications team on 13 November 2023 17:40
LAA Winners 2023 Group Shot

Our West Berkshire Learner Achievement Awards  never fail to inspire and motivate. This year is no exception!  

These annual awards celebrate the success of adult learning in West Berkshire, covering apprenticeships, professional, academic, and vocational courses and learning programmes that support families, communities and health and wellbeing.

Year on year, they showcase not only stories of incredible determination, but fantastic stories of people changing the direction of their lives and achieving their goals in difficult circumstances, and often against all the odds.

The awards ceremony was held at Shaw House and included guest speaker, Jill Hobbs, a local self-taught painter who discovered her passion during the pandemic and has gone on to develop a successful career in the creative industry

We had over 60 nominations and very difficult choices to make when selecting winners for our nine award categories, but there are some incredible achievements including;

Kyra Black, the winner of our Outstanding Achievement Award, did not find learning easy. She was diagnosed with ASD and dyspraxia when she was young and also suffers from high frequency hearing loss in both her ears which requires the use of hearing aids. Despite her difficulties, Kyra never gave up on her dream to go to university. During her studies she worked as a Teaching Assistant at Falkland Primary School, where she went as a child, and she has recently started a degree in Medieval History at Winchester University.

 Tom Ventam, Winner of our Numeracy Skills for Life  Award wanted to work in the IT industry, but struggled to gain his Maths Level 2 to enable him to take up the perfect apprenticeship role he was offered. He studied hard, even taking a week of his annual leave to prepare for his exam (which he smashed!) He's now on track to complete his dream apprenticeship in 2024. 

 Our Inspiring Others Award went to three amazing ladies! Hanan Turland-Warlow, Rachel Flynn-Delargy and Beata Holeckova are all teachers at the Berkshire School of English. They were nominated for exceptional dedication and compassion in their work with refugee learners from Syria, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Ukraine to ensure that these learners not only acquire language skills, but feel comfortable and integrated in their new communities. Over the last 8-years, their collective effort has had a significant positive impact on the lives of over 400 refugee learners.

Heather Codling, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Children, Education and Young People's Services says, 

"It's hard to hear these stories of determination without feeling emotional. I'm delighted that we're able to recognise the incredible efforts of our adult learners, and hope that their stories will inspire others to follow their lead and reach their full potential too.

"Our winners show that, although this may be hard, it can certainly be done. Congratulations to all our LAA winners and everyone who was nominated for their incredible efforts. Once again,  the LAA proves that no matter your age, background or qualifications, you're never too old to pick up new skills."

See all our winner's stories

The awards are organised by West Berkshire Council on behalf of the Community Learning Partnership and sponsored by Newbury College, the Newbury Community Resource Centre and West Berkshire Training Consortium.

Last modified: 13 November 2023 17:53

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