Adult learning really can change lives and we are delighted to share some inspiring news about our learners’ achievements. Behind every learner success story there are those who make it all happen – tutors, support staff and managers and you can read about innovative and dedicated teaching and management here too.
Sue George is a service user at Trinity Winchester, a charity supporting homeless and vulnerable people. Sue did not gain any qualifications at school and had become homeless following the death of her husband. She started her learning journey with cookery, beginning with an informal drop in group and then progressing to the more structured Trinity Women’s Service course where she gained Entry Level NCFE accreditation in Confident Cookery and Art, Design and Craft (in cooking). Sue has also recently gained her Food Hygiene Certificate. With increased confidence Sue then started attending the Trinity IT group, has achieved NCFE Getting Started with IT and now attends regularly - she can now use email confidently, is learning how to use social media and, with help from the tutor, has even created her own blog.
Sue’s literacy skills continued to develop alongside her other areas of learning and with hard work she was able to achieve her first literacy qualification which meant she could enrol onto a college Literacy programme. The cookery and IT courses have helped rebuild Sue’s self confidence and self esteem she is now a respected member of the community at Trinity and regularly bakes cakes for clients and staff at the centre. With support from the trinity Job Club, Sue has recently secured a part-time cleaning job. She is an inspiration to others as she has shown that it is never too late and is always possible to learn and progress.
Now she can help her grandchildren with their homework and is going to volunteer at a local school to help children with their reading. Her learning journey started when her GP recommended her to do a confidence building course to help with her depression. She hadn’t been out of the house on her own for a long while, now she can’t wait to come to her classes at Andover Family Learning. She has taken courses in IT, Effective Communication, and achieved Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy and has now progressed onto Functional Skills Maths and English at Level 2.
Another learner, Sarah, attended a baby massage course at the centre when her daughter was 5 months old which led to baby-signing and to some further wider family learning accredited courses. This helped Sarah recognise that she needed help with her English and maths in order to help her children and she joined the Early Start programme where she achieved Level 1 in Literacy and 1 and 2 in Numeracy. She has now found that she can now help her son with his homework rather than “sending him straight to Granddad”.
She is working towards a Level 2 in Literacy and hopes to find a job when her daughter starts school.
Learners attending an Adult Theatre Skills class based at Winchester University are reporting greatly increased levels of self confidence and are finding the course is motivating further learning to take place elsewhere. The project (now called Over the Wall) was set up to offer vulnerable adults the opportunity to develop theatre skills and to explore personal goals through the creative medium of drama. Since the course started, learners have achieved Level 1 and 2 NCFE programmes (Taking Part and Playing Your Role which include units in Team Work, Communication and Confidence) and 4 learners progressed on to an NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Performance Skills using Acting (QCF).
Progress for individual learners has been excellent. Greater self-confidence has enabled X, who had suffered mental health problems to take an Introduction to Teaching course which led to her signing up to and achieving PTLLS. She has recently become a Mentor for young Offenders for the Princes Trust. She says the drama group has “helped me cement myself into Winchester, my new home, I would never have come to any of these things if it wasn’t for drama”.
Y, who has learning difficulties has attended a college literacy programme has found the script work very beneficial. He now has the confidence to tackle reading out loud, which is a considerable break through.
Another learner, Z has this to say “I joined the project after leaving prison 4 years ago as a recovering drug addict. Engaging in the drama project has contributed to me maintaining my motivation and progress. I have since qualified as a Substance Misuse Recovery Worker with the NHS. Drama has given me a weekly focus and has helped develop qualities, abilities and confidence that have contributed towards my current job. It has taught me the importance of perseverance with things we may find uncomfortable at first. It has taught me the importance of commitment and reliability.”
The course has been particularly helpful for learners who need a regular focus to their week and the programme runs for 40 weeks to support this need. Referrals are welcome at anytime throughout the year please contact Annie.Mckean@winchester.ac.uk