Adele Tilley

2015 - National Winner

Patron's Award

This ‘mini whirlwind’ has a passion so bright that it is impossible not to be encouraged to change or enhance your life through learning, and it is not at all surprising that HRH the Princess Royal has chosen her as the recipient of the first Adult Learners’ Week Patron’s Award.

Adele returned to learning at 21 after escaping an abusive relationship. She completed her maths, English and ICT GCSEs, which enabled her to go on to do an Access Diploma in Business Management and she is now working to attain an integrated Master’s degree at De Montfort University.

Adele was in care for the majority of her childhood which had an impact on her schooling. She now uses that experience to help other young people living in or leaving care to make the move into further education and employment. Not only has Adele returned to study in order to provide a better life for her young family, but she has also used her own experiences of higher education to support and encourage others to see learning as something everyone can do and achieve in.

Adele said: “Every aspect of my life has improved since I have returned to education and I truly believe it is because of the confidence I have gained. I will endeavour to inspire others to challenge themselves. Even though it may not be an easy road, it will be well worth it at the end.”

Melissa Page, who nominated Adele for the award said: “Adele is an outstanding adult learner, who despite her difficult start in life succeeded in obtaining her goal of a place at university. She juggles academic work, family life and extra-curricular activities with energy and enthusiasm. She is able to connect with young people and demonstrate that with determination, they have the potential to do what they want with their lives.”