2014 Highlights

In the weeks leading up to Adult Learners' Week 2014, our Festival of Learning saw over 4,000 events take place across England and Wales; inspiring and encouraging adults to participate in learning.

Now that Adult Learners' Week has come to a close – in a celebration of inspirational adult learners – we’ve illustrated some of this year’s highlights for you here:

Your chance to follow in the footsteps of Tony Benn, George Orwell and Karl Marx at Speakers' Corner - Kent Online

15 Jul 2014

Windbags not welcome. Brevity will be the key as a major initiative to promote freedom of speech is officially launched in Chatham. Medway Speakers’ Corner is modelled on the world famous debating spot in London’s Hyde Park and will hold its inaugural event in Military Road on Saturday from 12noon until 1pm.

Benson learns age is no barrier - Harwich and Mantree Standard

30 Jun 2014

A Harwich man has been named a runner up at the Adult Learners’ Week awards after ill-health led to career switch. Benson Langley, 58, was forced to leave work as a HGV driver after falling ill and feared he may be left out of work as he had left school with no qualifications.

Project helps Sunderland’s homeless move on - Sunderland Echo

28 Jun 2014

Homeless people are moving on thanks to an award-winning new project. Based at the Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge lifehouse in Sunderland, the Tenancy Achievement Project teaches residents how to live independently. Now the hard work of tutor Sonia Ritchie-Park has been marked with a Learning Life Skills Project Regional Award, handed out as part of celebrations to mark Adult Learners’ Week earlier this month.

Hairdressing Students show off their Skills at Adult Learners Week

23 Jun 2014

Hairdressing students at Greenbank College showcased their skills this week as part of Adult Learners Week. Creating spectacular styles to reflect the elegance and mystery of a Masquerade, many students taking part were adult learners who have returned to education to retrain for a chosen career.

Kate joins students to celebrate Adult Learning - Kate Green MP

23 Jun 2014

Kate joined students at Trafford College’s Centre for Science and Technology to celebrate this year’s Adult Learners’ Week – which ran from 14 – 20 June 2014. Adult Learners’ Week celebrates the transformational power of lifelong learning through activities and events. 

MP proves a dab hand in Weston College kitchen - Western Daily Press

23 Jun 2014

Weston MP John Penrose proved himself a dab hand in the kitchen when he visited Weston College's catering department as part of Adult Learners' Week. He met award-winning apprentice Max Bennett, who taught him how to make two non-alcoholic 'mocktails' - a Mango Fizz and an Orchid Bliss.

Counselling pensioner Robert a winning learner - FE Week

20 Jun 2014

A 79-year-old who counsels people with mental health issues and a 22-year-old who has started a charity to promote science to girls were among the winners at Adult Learners’ Week Awards. A total of 16 awards were given out to individuals, projects and employers at the event in London on Monday (June 16), organised by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

Former nurse and teacher Radha Virahsawmy claims that being a pensioner at uni has made her stronger - Guardian Series

20 Jun 2014

A university student has spoken of the importance of education after enrolling onto a course aged 70. Grandmother-of-three Radha Virahsawmy of Frith Road in Leytonstone won an Adult Learners’ Week award after impressing lecturers at Birkbeck University, London.

It's never too late to learn new skills – and start a new career - Grimsby Telegraph

19 Jun 2014

Give it a go, it might just change your life. That was the message from two of Grimsby Institute's real-life success stories as part of Adult Learners' Week, a celebration of lifelong learning. Dad-of-five Keith Fenwick, 42, of New Waltham, and Denise Simmons, of Cleethorpes, have both taken the plunge into adult learning, and are now reaping the benefits with new careers.

Inspirational Bexleyheath woman honoured for educational achievements - Bexley Times

19 Jun 2014

As a young girl Amy King missed years of school due to ill health and was told that pure science “wasn’t for girls.” The 22-year-old from Bexleyheath went on to prove the critics wrong and has been named Young Adult Learner of the Year as part of NIACE Adult Learners’ Week, which celebrates the transformational power of lifelong learning.

Outstanding Weston College apprentice in national Adult Learners’ Week award final - Bristol Post

18 Jun 2014

An outstanding Weston College apprentice has added to a list of successes by getting through to the final of a national Adult Learners' Week award. Max Bennett, 19, was named runner-up in the UK Young Adult Learner of the Year category at a ceremony in London. Last year he took a Silver at the national WorldSkills final and was also named as Weston College Apprentice of the Year 2013.

Awards for Bad Boys’ Bakery - Bakeryinfo.co.uk

17 Jun 2014

Bad Boys’ Bakery, which helps set ex-convicts on the straight and narrow, has won two Adult Learners’ Week awards. The establishment at HM Prison Brixton, born from TV show Gordon Behind Bars, has won the European Social Fund national project award, while former baker Chris McKay picked up the European Social Fund individual award for the London region.

Skills education 'vital' for people of all ages - Telegraph Online

16 Jun 2014

This year’s GCSE cohort has a greater range of next steps available to them than ever before. University is now an achievable ambition, rather than being the preserve of the privileged, and apprenticeships are increasingly given the respect they deserve in a competitive job market with businesses vying to recruit the brightest young talent.

Adult Learners' Week 2014 National Ceremony

16 Jun 2014

The Adult Learners' Week 2014 National Awards ceremony celebrated the inspirational stories of learners from across the country. Attended by hundreds of people from across the sector, the ceremony recognised learners for their outstanding achievements.

Pick a course... or two or three - East End Life

16 Jun 2014

Working mum Nurun, 39, who won the National Learning in Families and Communities award, is now an active adult learner and volunteer after completing nine courses. She said: “I cannot believe how far my life has moved on since this time last year. I know that I have come a long way, but the best part is knowing that I can go even further, that my journey has only just begun.”

Top award for health expert who is simply all heart - The Star

16 Jun 2014

A health expert has won a national award as part of Adult Learners’ Week, which begins today. Sarah Vernon, aged 49, has progressed from being an apprentice and assistant in a hospital cardiology department to becoming a senior cardiographer.

National Employer of the Year revealed at Adult Learners' Week Awards - HR Grapevine

16 Jun 2014

The National Employer of the Year has been named as part of this year’s Adult Learners’ Week, organised by National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). Topps Tiles independently created its own Training and Qualifications team which has already resulted in 600 formal qualifications, 107 promotions and a ten per cent improvement in retention.

BCS - calling for people to Tackle IT for Adult Learners' Week

16 Jun 2014

It may be the start of the World Cup, but it’s also the start of Adult Learners’ Week and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is calling on people across the UK to tackle IT and either learn or improve their digital skills to fully benefit from our digital world.

The Institute is working with IT qualification providers and trainers across the UK, to help people gain the skills they need and meet employer’s expectations.

Double award success for Bad Boys' Bakery

16 Jun 2014

Bad Boys’ Bakery, the social enterprise Working Links operate inside HM Prison Brixton as part of our Moving On programme in London, has won two prestigious Adult Learners’ Week awards. The Bakery has won the European Social Fund national project award while former baker Chris McKay picked up the European Social Fund individual award for the London region. 

Adult Learners’ Week: Fair access for mature students changes lives and benefits economy

16 Jun 2014

The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) welcomes this year’s Adult Learners’ Week [14-20 June 2014]. Organised by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, Adult Learners’ Week includes a range of events that celebrate the contribution of adult learning to social cohesion, economic vitality and social mobility.

FE Week - Adult Learners’ Week 2014

13 Jun 2014

For me, the best thing about this annual week of celebration is the stories of people who find new skills that change their lives. What has struck me this year is that it’s not just people who struggle at school who benefit from adult learning (although, of course, they do), it also boosts those who want to progress at work or pursue a lifelong dream or are in prison and want the skills to change their lives when they are released.

Adult Learner's Week - Jonathan Price: Cellist Turned Landscape Gardener - Help Musicians UK

13 Jun 2014

In 2010, after thirty years as as principal cello with Manchester Camerata I had to call it a day due to focal dystonia, I turned to a more sensible way of earning a living-well no actually-I immediately found something equally unsuitable to obsess about-landscape design.

London Adult Learners' Week Ceremony

12 Jun 2014

The London Adult Learners' Week Award Ceremony was held at the London Canal Museum on Thursday 12 June. Fantastic winners such as Amy King, Junior Smart, Chris Nicholls and many more were celbrated.

Bradford College student is rewarded for efforts - Telegraph & Argus

6 Jun 2014

Seraj Miah, 34, decided to pursue his dream of becoming a Civil Engineer, leaving his full-time job to enrol at Bradford College, all while juggling a hectic family life and two part time jobs. He won a Learning for Work Individual Regional Award in the Yorkshire & the Humber.

Redruth man turns life around to win south west award - West Briton News

5 Jun 2014

A man whose early life was a mix of care homes, custody, mental health support and homeless accommodation has been honoured with a regional award after turning his life around.  Andy Robinson, who was raised in Hayle but now lives in Redruth, won the South West Adult Learners' Week 2014 award after impressing judges with his work.

Man from Clayton-le-Moors saved by love of angling - Lancashire Telegraph

4 Jun 2014

A volunteer from Clayton-le-Moors has been honoured with an award after turning his life around. Steven Leeming overcame depression and feelings of hopelessness to receive the European Social Fund Individual Award in the North West, as part of Adult Learners’ Week held later this month.

This is the West Country: Prestigious award on the cards for Minehead woman

4 Jun 2014

A woman from Minehead has been picked to win a prestigious award for her remarkable learning achievements. Olivia Watkins, 22-years-old, has won the Learning Life Skills Individual Award as part of Adult Learners' Week (June 14-20)

Bournemouth University's Festival of Learning - Local Poverty: Reality and Response event

4 Jun 2014

Local people are taking action to stamp out poverty with a special summit to be held in Poole. Around 150 residents and people from groups across Bournemouth and Poole will attend the Local Poverty: Reality and Response event on Tuesday June 10, which is part of Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning.

Budding trainee mechanic from Wisbech wins major adult learners award - Wisbech Standard

30 May 2014

Sam Gowler, 25, of Wisbech, has picked up the Learning Life Skills Individual Award in the East of England. Life after school was tough for Mr Gowler - having no qualifications meant finding work was difficult. But, in a bid to transform his life, he took the bold step of re-engaging with education.

Adult learner Ellis Gardiner named regional winner at the Adult Learners’ Week Awards

28 May 2014

Nearing the age of 60, Ellis had struggled to find work in the current job market without IT skills, and so he decided to undertake Level one and Level two IT courses at E-Achieve. Despite suffering from ill health, Ellis powered through to gain a wide range of IT skills including Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.

Community Day at Eastleigh College

26 May 2014

As part of the Festival of Learning organised by The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), Eastleigh College opened up its campus to hundreds of local residents for its first ever Community Day.