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Festival of Learning Awards success!

The Festival of Learning is the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in England. The mission is to highlight the benefits of learning, celebrate achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives, and to encourage everyone to embrace lifelong learning.

Each year Adult Education nominates a number of individuals from across the Service. This year Adult Education Wolverhampton are proud to announce that 3 of our students have been recognised for their achievements. 

  • Washington Shearer

    Washington Shearer

    WINNER Adult Education Wolverhampton would like to congratulate Washington Shearer on his learning achievements and is proud to announce that he has been chosen by the Festival of learning for the National Return to Learning Award.
  • Hala Akhras

    Hala Akhras

    HIGHLY COMMENDED Adult Education Wolverhampton would like to congratulate Hala Akhras on her learning achievements and is proud to announce that she has been been Highly Commended for this year’s English Language Learning Award.
  • Kate Hubbarb

    Kate Hubbarb

    HIGHLY COMMENDED Adult Education Wolverhampton would like to congratulate Kate Hubbard on her learning achievements and is proud to announce that she has been Highly Commended for this year’s Learning for Health Award.
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Read Washington's story

“Whilst serving a five and a half year prison sentence I seriously started to think about the need to change my life. All my adult life I had hidden the fact that I couldn’t read or write; I felt ashamed and embarrassed when faced with endless forms to fill in. I finally had to admit my failure. It was at this point that my life started to turn around.

In prison I had stared to learn some basic English and this made me want to learn more.

When I left prison in 2013 I decided that learning English would be a great opportunity and give me a better future. I had always done manual work so I didn’t have to read or write but now I wanted to improve my life.

It took me until September 2016 to find the confidence to join Adult Education Wolverhampton to study English Entry Level 1. My tutor was brilliant and made learning fun. I passed my exams and am currently studying Entry level 2. I want to keep learning and will hopefully work my way through to GCSE! I now love learning and look forward to every English class.

In prison I had a lot of time to think, in fact serving time was like a standstill in my life but it also gave me the opportunity to start afresh; time to leave all the negative stuff in the past. I had let my whole family down and also had to cope with the breakdown of my marriage too. I felt I owed my children more, I needed to prove myself to them and I wanted them to be proud and not ashamed.

I had made excuses all their lives why I couldn’t help them with their homework and realised I didn’t want to have to use the same excuses with my grandchildren. I want them to see me as a good role model. I want to work but being an ex-con means I have to go one step further. It’s almost as if I come with a tag that says ‘not employable- he’s a convict’. I need to prove that I have changed and I will! I am a good man who made a mistake…

Studying is empowering me, my confidence and my self-esteem has grown. I now believe in myself and have expectations for a much brighter future. I no longer have to suffer in silence feeling ashamed because I can’t read or write. I had years of people not realising I couldn’t read or write properly, but I have realised that if you don’t tell people no one can help you. I think I learned all the tricks that helped me hide my failure but they didn’t get me anywhere. You can’t turn the clocks back. I am so happy I can now sit with my grandchildren and read them a simple story; I wish I had been able to do this with my children instead of telling them I was busy all the time. I feel this has helped me to develop my relationship with them and I feel closer to them. I missed out on this with my own children. I am proud that I have now been able to connect with family and friends using social media and send texts to keep in touch, something I never thought I would be able to do. I feel like a normal person! I realise I still have a long way to go through.

I now have ambitions and one day I hope to work with kids and adults as a mentor, perhaps sharing my story will save them from having to make the same mistakes that I made and help them to take the right path in life. I want to achieve more now and make my family, and especially my mum, who still lives in Jamaica, proud of me. Everyone should be allowed a second chance…this is my chance!”

Read Hala's story

“To begin I have started studying English in 2015 at Adult Education Wolverhampton. Firstly I did entry level 3 ESOL, I then moved onto level 1 speaking and listening then reading and writing. I wanted to continue to Level 2 but this was as high as I could go with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Therefore I decided to move on to a higher level and enrolled on and IELTS course to prepare myself of the IELTS qualification. The reason I wanted to do this is because in my country of origin I am a qualified dental technician and this course would enable me to pursue my career in the UK. It was harder than I had expected and I found the reading especially difficult. Consequently I decided to delay doing the exam until I had developed my confidence and English language skills further.

In spite of all the difficulties which I had faces I refused to stop learning and I insisted on continuing my studies at Adult Education. I believe that studying at home alone would have had negative effect on my language skills. I started to think about different options which would lead to a possible career and I decided to pursue childcare. I enrolled on a Childcare course at Adult Education whilst continuing my functional skills in maths and English. My Tutor discussed all my learning options so once I have completed my Childcare level 1, I would like to progress to the Teaching Assistant course in the hope that this will increase my job prospects for the future.

I am from Syria, I left my country because of the war and came to the UK in 2013, which meant I had to adapt to a new country, culture, traditions and the language. Accordingly I faced many difficulties because of the language. My first language is Arabic, I did study English in my country as a subject but I never got the opportunity to use it in my daily life. When I arrived in England I was a stranger in a strange country and always hesitated to communicate because I was afraid of making mistakes. Additionally this prevented me from engaging with the community which made me very depressed and pessimistic about my future. I believed that it would be impossible to find a job unless I spoke English fluently like a native English speaker. Therefore I decided to overcome all of these barriers and started by learning English and developing my speaking skills. Finally I hope to achieve my main target which is to speak English fluently like a native English speaker and to integrate more with society.

After three years of learning English I think I have achieved a great deal, which reflects in my confidence and self-esteem. I have much more courage and am now happy to communicate with the people around me. I am no longer isolated. This growing confidence has had a very positive effect on my whole family and I now believe that I will get a job in the future and that my family and I will have a much better quality of life. My progress has made me more sociable and interested in participating in different activities like volunteering in the community, something that will have a positive effect on my life and the life of the people I can help. Finally I would like to say how very grateful I am to all the teachers for their continued efforts and support and for helping me to get back the opportunity to grow and prosper. “

Read Kate's story

“After being struck down by a life changing illness in 2010, I needed a focus and a reason to wake up in the morning, so in 2013 I took a massive step and enrolled on the Activities 4 Health (now ‘Like Minds’) course at Adult Education Wolverhampton. This was just the start of my mission to survive and get my life back on track. The class was aimed at individuals who had suffered illness and mental health difficulties. For me it was the stepping stone back to the living, breathing world outside of my 4 walls and my physical, mental hell.

I continued with my studies and have since moved on to main stream classes which include pottery, painting and drawing, flower arranging and hat making which I have successfully completed at Level 1. My learning journey continues and I am learning new things every day, my creativity is back and I just can’t get enough. I plan to complete a millinery Level 2 qualification alongside attending ‘Like Minds’ classes.

My long-term plan is to help and work with individuals like me by sharing my experiences. Whilst in neuro rehabilitation I tried a craft activity that really made a difference, I want to help make that difference in other people lives. I will start by volunteering and then who know what?! My dad always says, “Impossible we can do, miracles take a little bit longer”.

My name is Kate Hubbard I am 34 and am back on the right track, loving life and all that it might hold for me.

In 2010 I was at the top of my game, hairdresser to the stars, working in the fame team. Then suddenly I was struck down losing the use of the right side of my body, I’d had what at the time appeared to be a stroke. This was just the start of a cascade of multiple life changing diagnoses. For starters…M.E, Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s, Narcolepsy, Cataplexy, chronic fatigue and pain, lupus and agoraphobia to name just a few! My life as I knew it had ended and I was destroyed mentally and physically. With continued family challenges, bereavement, abuse and lose of my home and business. This threw me into chronic depression and had me believing that life was not worth living. To the point that suicide was an option. Then one day I saw a glitch of light and decided that I wanted to regain my life and I needed help and that’s where my new journey to rebuild my life began.

I asked my doctor for help and he recommended the Activities 4 health classes at Adult Education. This was where my world reopened and my new life started, giving me my second chance. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t easy and I was terrified to begin with. It took me a long to re-adjust but learning has really transformed my life and has given me hope for my future. Bit by bit I am discovering the new Kate and she isn’t half bad.

I believe now that things happen for a reason I’m meant for something new and learning is giving me the options to discover what that might be (something creative I’m sure). The craft activities are helping with my dexterity, I am learning more and more, learning to live with and accept my disabilities and my confidence has soared. The support I have had from the Adult Education staff and my tutors has been fantastic, today nothing is impossible. I aim to get back to work in a creative field someday soon.

The difference learning has made leaves me lost for words…

Adult Education has saved my life, it has restored my faith in humanity and makes me realise how much the people at Adult Education care, in fact they have become my new family of friends and I am ever indebted to them for their continued support. I realise that I am ok and that I have got a future outside of hairdressing (and my physical daily battle with my health), something I never thought possible. I am still learning and exploring and this is imperative to my wellbeing and future success.

I was terrified when I first started learning, I had exceptionally low self-esteem, no confidence and very little hope for my future. Today I am a new person who is excited about what tomorrow holds.

The stress on my family was overwhelming but they stuck by me through thick and thin. Thanks to Adult Education they have seen me slowly but surely transform into someone that they are very proud of and that I am very proud of too.

I hope to one day repay my gratitude in kind, and help others like myself to rebuild their lives and their self-esteem.”

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Watch Washington Shearer's story

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 June 2018 12:41
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