At HEART, we understand the value of higher level study as an adult, in terms of the financial benefits that higher education qualifications can deliver in salary premiums but also the value in terms of personal confidence, better health and social connections.
We are strong supporters of the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) annual Adult Learners’ Festival and sponsor a HEART Raising Aspirations award at the Adult Learners’ Week regional awards each year. The festival and week celebrate the success of adult learners and the positive impacts that their learning has on them as individuals and to their families and employers.
Adult Learners’ Week Awards 2015
Once again, HEART was delighted to sponsor the 2015 Adult Learners’ week Awards and specifically the HEART Raising Aspirations Award. This year the awards took place in the magnificent setting of Leeds Civic Hall on 5 June. Our award was presented to Christine Foskett who was nominated by WEA North West. The award is seen being presented by HEART Deputy Chair of the Board, June Durrant from Kirklees College.
Adult Learners’ Week Awards 2014
We received an increase of around 600% in the number of nominations for the award and the quality of nominations was truly remarkable. Reading the stories of each learner, how they had taken the plunge to return to learning and some of the factors that drove them to study were truly inspiring.
The eventual agreed winner by the selection panel was Ray Whitaker, now studying for a degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management at the University of Leeds.
Ray’s return to learning commenced initially with taking a GCSE Maths at Deacon House community education centre operated by Leeds City College. From this he took inspiration and confidence and literally walked across the city and eventually found the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Leeds who offer free impartial advice and guidance.
On hearing Ray’s aspirations and aims he was supported and gained a place on the 1 year Foundation Level in Earth and Environment that has subsequently allowed Ray to progress onto his dream degree course.
The award was presented to Ray by the Chair of the HEART Board, Professor Margaret A House, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.
Margaret in making the award spoke of how privileged she felt in being able to share in celebrating the achievements of the all the winners and the nominees. Margaret went on to say:
“HEARTs focus is naturally on individuals progressing to and succeeding in higher education, whether that is at a university or a college. However, I know that the initial steps to higher education start with the drive and determination of an individual taking the first step back into learning and this can often be quite a daunting step.
It’s why I am committed to HEART, a partnership of competing colleges and universities, who set aside our competitive instincts when considering the support we provide to people entering higher education. It’s through HEART where we work collaboratively to support people to access higher education and why we work with Involve Yorkshire & Humber, the WEA and other organisations who help people take their first steps, their next steps and the right steps toward success – all through the power of learning.”
In response Ray provided a witty and heartfelt acceptance speech in which he referred to the value of learning, the need to keep learning and how he has gained encouragement and support from all the tutors he has encountered and just as importantly from his daughter who was fourteen when he first told her that he was starting at University and responded with ‘if you can do it, anyone can Dad’. Ray stressed that this, from a young girl, is so true as anyone can do it. He called on all those at the awards to support their friends, family and colleagues to engage in learning and to keep learning.
Adult Learners’ Week Awards 2013
The 2013 HEART Raising Aspirations award, was presented to Sarah Reynolds at the Adult Learners’ Week Regional Award ceremony held in Bradford. We promise the decision to present the award to Sarah, studying for her degree at University of Bradford was not ‘fixed’.
Sarah returned to learning following a period of ill health that resulted in leaving her job of twenty years. As she commenced her Foundation Degree in Leadership & Management she had to undergo surgery but somehow managed to fit the operation around her study and did not miss a single session of the degree. Sarah has really valued the foundation degree model with the access to work experience enabling her to acquire current practice and the solid support of the entire team at the University of Bradford. Sarah’s key tutor and nominator for the award, Margaret Alipoor, spoke warmly about Sarah’s persistence and her ongoing support to fellow learners on the course and to the tutor team too. In her acceptance speech Sarah extolled the value of learning and praised the support and approach of the University of Bradford team. Upon successful completion of the Foundation Degree Sarah intends to continue and top-up to a BA.
Highly commended was Lisa Horsley. Lisa found school difficult and in her words ‘school didn’t get me’. She therefore made a life for herself, having four children and providing the support that they required to have a good start in life. As her youngest child started school she felt empty and as a result took the leap to return to learn completing a 12 week ‘steps’ course. Lisa then progressed to Leeds City College where she says on arriving to enrol ‘the staff were so accommodating it just felt right’. Here Lisa completed an NVQ CACHE award and GCSE Maths and English and has subsequently secured a permanent position as a teaching assistant in a school. Her enthusiasm for learning will undoubtedly rub off on the children she supports.
If you want to know more about how to return to learning and where to get expert advice on the range of options available do get in touch. You can call us on 0113 343 2312 or complete our Contact Form.