Award winners

Our award winners highlight the vast array of people who gain so much from learning as adults.

Their stories truly inspire all of us

They help us recognise that learning is transformational, exciting, rewarding and possible at any age, for any reason and can be for all of us.

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Female sat in park sketching with two people in background

2021

Online Learning Award

Living alone as a disabled person made the idea of lockdown particularly worrying, but getting to grips with technology transformed Daya’s experience.

Daya Mohindra

Online Learning Award

Meet the winner
Individual lady standing in hair salon wearing black t-shirt

2021

Learning for Work Award

Following difficult visits to the barber with her son, Naomi saw a gap in the market to provide barbering services for those children with special educational need and other disabilities. Returning to learning aged 25 to gain the qualifications required, Naomi is now pursuing a career as a qualified barber.

Naomi-Louize

Learning for Work Award

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Two men sitting at table with paperwork and laptop

2021

Employer Award

Salts Healthcare has created a number of career pathways to help production workers upskill to become fully qualified engineers through a combination of on and off the job learning.

Salts Healthcare

Employer Award

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Male attaching medical equipment to female

2021

Learning Provision Award

Positive Progressions is an employability project that aims to increase learning and employment opportunities for those furthest away from the labour market.

Positive Progressions

Learning Provision Award

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Female at lectern

2021

Outstanding Individual Learner Award

Rosie has shown great tenacity after a tumultuous start in life. After growing up in care and struggling through school, it has been through learning about how to help others, that Rosie has learnt how to help herself.

Rosie Wainwright

Outstanding Individual Learner Award

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Head shot of male in bus driver uniform with bus in background

2021

Learning for Health Award

Following a diagnosis with a lifechanging condition, Paul started a variety of level 2 courses through the workplace learning centre, within the Bramley depot.

Paul Ackroyd

Learning for Health Award

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Female in library looking at book

2021

New Directions Award

Nikki-Ann worked as a pastry chef in a high-end restaurant before suffering life-changing injuries in a motorbike accident. After returning to education, Nikki-Ann has retrained and is pursuing a career in engineering.

Nikki-Ann Wyatt

New Directions Award

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Male sat table with laptop female sat in background, both looking to camera

2021

Patron's Award

Matthew has autism, which has unfortunately held him back in his education and employment. Having reached his early thirties, Matthew decided to take his first step back into learning, pursuing his passion for travel and tourism.

Matthew Turner

Patron's Award

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Two females sitting at table, one writing & the other looking on

2021

Return to Learning Award

Kirsty experienced personal trauma and turmoil from a young age and had little contact from the outside world. Following many years of trying to turn her life around, Kirsty took a leap of faith back into education at East Riding College and she hasn’t looked back since.

Kirsty Young

Return to Learning Award

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Head shot of male in library

2021

Tutor Award

José Aguiar is a teacher at HMP Pentonville, and has had to work twice as hard as teachers in the community to make sure his learners could access the teaching and educational materials to continue learning.

José Aguiar

Tutor Award

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Male sat on sofa looking to caomera

2021

English Language Learning Award

Hasan arrived in the UK in January 2018 speaking no English and relying on Google translate to communicate. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to studying English to help him to get a job, pass his driving test, and feel like a part of his community.

Hasan Jasim

English Language Learning Award

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Three females and a male in group hug

2021

President's Award

CARAS is a South London charity that specialises in working with young people and adults who are seeking asylum or have a refugee background.

CARAS ESOL Project

President's Award

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Male stood outside detached house

2021

Finalist

Joshua always had big ambitions to be a fashion designer, but had a difficult start to life and had lacked the right support. He enrolled at the Grimsby Institute while living at the YMCA.

Joshua Wolfe

Finalist

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Female sat table with laptop

2021

Finalist

Karen first started a phonics course to support her youngest son who struggles with learning. However, she soon realised the wider benefits of education for her own health and wellbeing, which had been severely affected by post-natal depression and a nervous breakdown a few years earlier.

Karen Davies

Finalist

Meet the winner
Shoulder shot of female standing in front of a brick wall

2021

Finalist

Michéle works with adults of all levels, teaching Creative Writing as a tool for people to articulate and understand their feelings. Michele’s teaching is tailored to each individual and provides learners with a platform to express themselves through poetry, creative writing and open mic nights.

Michéle Beck

Finalist

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Female sat in classroom with computer

2021

Finalist

Razia arrived in the UK from Afghanistan knowing very little English. Motivated by a desire to support her children and to be able to live her life independently, she enrolled on Entry 2 Level ESOL.

Razia Fez

Finalist

Meet the winner
Holding page for Keep Learning, Keep Well webinar

2021

Finalist

Lockdown put an end to face-to-face learning for many, but adult community education provider Skills & Learning didn’t let that get in the way.

Skills & Learning ACE – Keep Learning, Keep Well

Finalist

Meet the winner
Female sat at desk looking at folder, PC in background

2021

Finalist

Nicola’s main motivation to return to learning after 12 years of stay-at-home parenting was getting back into work. However, she soon started to see the wider benefits of learning, also sparking an interest in a career-change to become a counsellor.

Nicola Williams

Finalist

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Birdseye view of students sat at desks exam style

2021

Finalist

Get into Working in Construction is a partnership between Hopwood Hall College and Inside Connections which works with prisoners and prison leavers to gain qualifications and secure employment upon release.

Get into Working in Construction with CSCS Card

Finalist

Meet the winner
Head shot of female in outdoor space

2020

Patron's Award

Education had been a negative experience for Hannah in the past and she had left school when she was 13 as a result of bullying. At age 28, motivated by a desire to better support her children with their school work, she decided it was the right time for her to return to learning.

Hannah Wilkins

Patron’s Award winner

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Male sat in college environment (with female back to camera)

2020

Outstanding Individual Learner Award

Brandon was diagnosed with Autism and although he attended a specialist school, as a teenager he found his educational choices and potential were limited. Studying at Derwentside College has transformed Brandon’s life and his academic and career prospects.

Brandon Layton

Outstanding Individual Learner Award

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Female sat in classroom with flash cards

2020

New Directions Award

An Introduction into Health and Social Care course run by City College Peterborough at a local care home gave Laura the opportunity she needed to overcome her anxiety, discover her passion for caring for others, and embark on a new career.

Laura Dunn-Green

New Directions Award

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Female giving a male model a hair cut

2020

Finalist

Naomi was at a point in her life where she was worried about what the future may hold. With the help of her support worker she identified barbering as a career she wanted to pursue and signed up for a level 2 course with Essex Adult and Community Learning College.

Naomi Mellersh-Tett

Finalist

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Female applying make-up to a female model

2020

Finalist

Anna had embarked on numerous hairdressing courses since leaving school, but her circumstances meant that each time she was unable to complete her qualifications and progress.

Anna Palmer

Finalist

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Black young man doing mechanical work on a bus

2020

Finalist

M-Futures was created in partnership with apprenticeship provider Total People, Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Working Skills Group who recognised a gap in the current apprenticeship offer around construction.

M-Futures

Finalist

Meet the winner
Black female doing written work with PCs in background

2020

Finalist

Karen’s learning journey began with an entry level 3 functional skills English course at Adult Education Wolverhampton. Through her hard work and dedication she has quickly progressed to a GCSE course and volunteered with the Talk English programme to help others in the community improve their English language skills.

Karen Hanley-Brooks

Finalist

Meet the winner
Male smiling to camera with work book on desk & white board in background

2020

Finalist

As a maths and science tutor, Paul saw that many pupils would benefit from additional help with maths, but few have access to specialist support. He decided to start running free maths classes for adults in the community, so that they could better help their children with homework.

Paul Slater

Finalist

Meet the winner
Man standing smiling to camera with British Army posters in background

2020

Finalist

Sion is employed by the Army Catering Training Trust to deliver apprenticeship support to the chefs of the Army. He has supported approximately 5,000 learners in his tenure and has also developed a range of opportunities for further learning outside of the usual military education route.

Sion Farrell

Finalist

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Male using a plane to shave wood

2020

Learning Provision Award

Motiv8

Learning Provision Award

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Female sat on floor in class room with colleague

2020

English Language Learning Award

Motivated by a desire to support her son who was born with various medical conditions and who has special educational needs, Rubi enrolled at Tameside Adult and Community Education (ACE) to learn English.

Rubi Naz

English Language Learning Award

Meet the winner
Female looking at male holding up batik art work

2020

Learning for Health Award

Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service has worked in partnership with Waltham Forest Social Prescribing to set up a range of creative courses in locations such as Walthamstow Wetlands, Lloyd Park and Epping Forest Visitor Centre in Chingford.

Health and Wellbeing Programme

Learning for Health Award

Meet the winner
Male showing laptop screen to colleague in classroom

2020

Tutor Award

Evripides works for Derby Adult Learning Service teaching English and maths from entry level through to level 2. His innovative, creative and functional lessons have supported many vulnerable and marginalised people to reach their potential and surpass their own expectations.

Evripides Evriviades

Tutor Award

Meet the winner
Male holding certificate sat at computer desk

2020

Social Impact Award

Phil is a volunteer Digital Champion with Clarion Housing, and runs a regular computer drop-in session at a sheltered housing scheme for the over 55s in Basingstoke. He also provides peer support to other volunteers through the Digital Unite online forum.

Phil Branigan

Social Impact Award

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Two females sat at desk with laptop (one with back to camera)

2020

Return to Learning Award

Liz’s experience of education as a child was traumatic, but she took a leap of faith and enrolled on an Introduction to Adult Social Care course with Islington Adult Community Learning.

Liz Collins

Return to Learning Award

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Male standing with police panda cars in background

2020

Learning for Work Award

A course offered online by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College stimulated Paul’s interest in learning about mental health issues, learning difficulties and disabilities, as he could see the direct relevance to his work as a police inspector with Warwickshire Police.

Paul Barnsley

Learning for Work Award

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Learners looking at presentation with tutor

2020

Employer Award

The Initial Operational Training Programme (IOTP) designed and delivered by the National Crime Agency (NCA) supports intelligence and investigation training through an accredited flexible learning and development framework. 

National Crime Agency

Employer Award

Meet the winner
Female and male sat on bench outdoors

2020

President's Award

Positive People, a partnership project led by social enterprise Pluss, operates across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset offering a learning lifeline to the most socially excluded and vulnerable people in society.

Positive People – Pluss

President's Award

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Female in pink headwrap with plate of food at side

2019

Finalist

During 2018, Good Things Foundation was funded by the Government Equalities Office to deliver activities to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act and Qualification of Women Act. They created Voicebox Cafes as an innovative, nationwide project to engage young women through a programme of activities covering education,  participation and celebration of UK democracy.

Voicebox Cafes

Finalist

Meet the winner
Head shot of mature lady in outside space

2019

Finalist

Sylvia began attending poetry classes at City Lit in 1999 at the age of 71. Despite challenges of age and mobility she continues to travel by public transport each week to attend classes, and her work has been published in numerous poetry journals.

Sylvia Rowbottom

Finalist

Meet the winner
Two males looking at each other - gym environment

2019

Finalist

A motorcycle accident left Karl potentially unable to walk unaided for the rest of his life. His dramatic rehabilitation to full mobility led him to become a qualified personal trainer and during his work with clients he realised his own experience could help others with their recovery. He is now studying for a sports therapy degree at the University of East London.

Karl Anthony

Finalist

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Female with fist under chin, glass of drink at the side

2019

Finalist

Julie’s transformational learning journey began when she was signposted by another training provider to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Building Better Opportunities (BBO)  programme. The programme helped her to build her confidence and skills, and progress to further learning and employment. Julie went on to support others in her community to learn and get into work.

Julie Redpath

Finalist

Meet the winner
Female sitting holding a

2019

Finalist

Dace is from Latvia and is profoundly deaf. Her first language is Latvian Sign Language but she has since become competent in British Sign Language. She is studying at the Centre for Deaf Education at City Lit to improve her English, in particular her grammar, reading and writing skills.

Dace Mikisite

Finalist

Meet the winner
Female standing next to Stateside logo banner

2019

Finalist

Having successfully completed a level 2 business administration apprenticeship, Ashleigh continued working full-time and returned to Bolton College to embark on an access to higher education course. Ashleigh has now progressed onto a degree apprenticeship with Stateside Foods.

Ashleigh Emmason

Finalist

Meet the winner
Head shot of male smiling to camera

2019

Return to Learning Award

At school Stuart was told to sit at  the back of the classroom because he couldn’t read or write. Aged 50, he began attending the dyslexia study skills class run by Oldham Lifelong Learning Service. Stuart’s return to learning has opened up new and better job opportunities, and had a profound impact on his life.

Stuart Ferriss

Return to Learning Award

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Female in classroom with disposable drink

2019

Outstanding Individual Learner Award

Living in care, Diana experienced a difficult start in life, and has had to overcome significant barriers on her learning journey into higher education. However she is now studying a BSc (Hons) medical science at De Montfort University with the ambition to become a doctor.

Diana Omokore

Outstanding Individual Learner Award

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Black female standing with world map in background

2019

English Language Learning Award

Brought up in a traditional Chinese family in Malaysia and educated in a school which did not teach English, Seong never imagined that she would have a second chance to better her education.

Seong Chua

English Language Learning Award

Meet the winner
Female holding up pottery work

2019

Learning for Health Award

Marie’s learning journey began when she was referred to Adult Education Wolverhampton’s Like Minds pottery course by her psychologist to help her to overcome severe depression.

Marie Smith

Learning for Health Award

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Males and Female in a greenhouse - female holding papers

2019

Learning Provision Award

Nurturing Recovery is run in partnership by Bridgwater & Taunton College, North Somerset Council and a number of other local agencies to support adults with a range of addictions and mental health issues through tailored horticulture programmes. 

Nurturing Recovery

Learning Provision Award

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Male sat in classroom looking at female with back to camera

2019

Social Impact Award

Dr Peter Shukie teaches at the University Centre at Blackburn College with a focus on technology enhanced learning and educational practice in a digital age.

Peter Shukie

Social Impact Award

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Female smiling to camera - background blurred

2019

Tutor Award

Fiona was a trained secondary teacher but losing her hearing meant she couldn’t return to a standard classroom. When she started attending lipreading classes at City Lit it rekindled her interest and enthusiasm for teaching.

Fiona Pickett

Tutor Award

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Female looking down preparing activity work

2019

New Directions Award

Attending family learning courses run by Kent Adult Education with support from the family liaison officer at her children’s school gave Vicky the boost she needed to pursue her dream of becoming a midwife.

Vicky Seagars

New Directions Award

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Two females smiling at each other with male looking at his work

2019

Employer Award

Keoghs law firm pride themselves on investing in learning to support the development of home-grown skills and talent. 

Keoghs

Employer Award

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Head shot of female paramedic

2019

Learning for Work Award

Emma wanted to pursue a career as a paramedic, but didn’t have the required qualifications. Her learning journey began when she decided to retake her English, maths and science GCSEs at Petroc College in Devon.

Emma Searle

Learning for Work Award

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Male sat looking at images

2019

President's Award

City Lit first opened their doors for enrolments in September 1919 and in their first century have supported well over a million adults in London to learn. 

City Lit

President's Award

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Male using machinery in workshop

2019

Patron's Award

Michael grew up in care and was struggling to find his place in the world. Following a reconciliation with his birth family he discovered that his father, brother and sister were all studying at university and he was motivated to work hard to achieve the same for himself.

Michael Shakil

Patron's Award

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Female making adjustment to garment on mannequin

2018

Senior Adult Learner

After seeing an advert for New Beginnings evening classes at the University of East London, 71-year-old Bernadette decided it was time to return to learning and realise her dreams.  

Bernadette Taylor

Senior Adult Learner

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Male sat at computer desk looking at screen

2018

Return to Learning Award

Washington had hidden the fact that he couldn’t read or write all his life, however with the help of Adult Education Wolverhampton he is now aiming to put that right.

Washington Shearer

Return to Learning Award

Meet the winner