LAL learner Louise Draper from Chorley has been announced as Festival of Learning’s Return to Learning Highly Commended Individual in their 2018 awards for her exceptional achievements in adult learning.
The award celebrates adults who have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work through learning.
Louise Draper, 34, left school with no qualifications and admitted that she had no real knowledge of English or maths.
Having started her family at a young age, Louise decided to go back to education to help her children with their homework. She enrolled with Lancashire Adult Learning at Highfield Children’s Centre in Chorley. She started at Entry Level 3 in English and Maths and progressed quickly to Level 1 and Level 2.
Initially Louise had low self-esteem in class but took it up on herself to promote a positive environment and encourage her classmates to speak up and ask questions.
Louise’s ambition is to be a nurse. Armed with confidence she started to apply for jobs and within a week she was working as a care assistant at a local nursing care home. More recently she started a Level 2 NVQ in Health and Social Care.
Louise commented on the impact her learning has had: “Attending classes has given me a massive confidence boost. The bond with my eldest daughter is stronger than ever before as she knows that I am now able to support her.”
Louise’s maths teacher at Lancashire Adult Learning, Phil Carter, said: “I am so proud of Louise and the progress she has been able to make by returning to education. Seeing her go from a shy learner with very little confidence, to somebody who is career driven and full of self-belief has been an absolute pleasure, and I couldn’t be happier with the fact that she has been recognised in these national awards.”
Associate Principal for Lancashire Adult Learning Tracey Baron added: “A huge congratulations to Louise on this success. This truly highlights what you can achieve if you set your mind to it. Returning to education after a break isn’t always an easy decision, but for the likes of Louise it has truly changed her life – giving her a new-found confidence and boosting her career prospects.
“I wish her all the best for her future, and hope it will encourage others out there who are looking to develop new skills for personal or professional reasons to get in touch with us – it really is never too late to learn.”
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: “An estimated nine million adults in the UK have low literacy and numeracy skills, reducing their opportunities to thrive at work and in wider life. Louise’s story demonstrates the vital importance of access to basic skills courses, for people to achieve their full potential – from progressing in learning and gaining employment, to being able to better support their children with schoolwork.”
“Festival of Learning is all about inspirational stories of people like Louise that show that anyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try, particularly in June when hundreds of free activities can be found on our Have a Go Month calendar. Further information on learning opportunities and support with the costs of courses is available through the National Careers Service, colleges and community learning providers.”