In 2017, I was nominated for a Festival of Learning award. I had recently completed a course with the School for Social Entrepreneurs on how to start up a social enterprise.
My personal journey to doing this course has been a long one. I had a head injury when I was 19. The outlook for me at the time was bleak. It looked like I would have severe disabilities as a result and I would need continuous support. Fortunately, I recovered better than expected.
I was determined to make positive of this experience, so I trained as a learning disability nurse. I then went on to complete a Masters in Positive Behaviour Support (an approach I am very passionate about), and after gaining a variety of experiences I decided if I really wanted to make a difference I would need to set up a business of my own.
At this stage, I was confident in knowing how to support people with learning disabilities, but I didn’t have a clue how to set up a business, particularly a non-profit social enterprise. This course was everything I needed to help me achieve my goal.
I felt incredibly proud to have been nominated for this award. The course itself was amazing and gave me the knowledge, support, and encouragement to achieve my goal. To then be recognised for the development I had made, by actually winning an award – Learning for Work – was amazing! What was even more special from my perspective was this was not an award that was specific to my field, it was an award open to anyone. My development had been recognised by people broader than the usual community I engage with.
The Festival of Learning Awards are a great opportunity for you to recognise the achievements of someone you know who has applied themselves to develop further. If you know someone who you feel is worth this recognition, then it is definitely worth taking a couple of minutes to get a submission in!