Outstanding learners honoured at 2018 Hertfordshire Adult Achievement Awards

Published: 02 Jul 2018

Outstanding learners have been honoured at the 2018 Hertfordshire Adult Achievement Awards held at Hatfield House

The event was organised by Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Service (HAFLS), part of Hertfordshire County Council, to celebrate the work and achievement of both adults and young people who have taken part in community learning courses over the past year as well as tutors and mentors who have been helped to make an impact.

Many of the learners have successfully completed courses under difficult and challenging circumstances. Among the people whose work was celebrated were learners who completed courses in English, maths, health and wellbeing or skills for work.
Winner of the ‘Overcoming Challenges’ award, Miguel Almeida, 45, from Watford, successfully completed the `Boost your confidence ’course while coping with a debilitating medical condition. He said “Before the course I wasn’t in a great place. I was unemployed, depressed and really struggling with my condition. My wife found out about the course, while looking for something to build my confidence and get me back into work.

“The course has helped me build my self- esteem, giving me a reason to get out the house and meet new people. Now my condition is much more manageable and I’m back in employment doing a trial run.”

Winner of the `Progression Award' is a single mum with five children who completed the `Employability course’. Katie Waites from Hemel Hempstead suffered ill health which left her in great pain and practically immobile for six months which had a great effect on general well-being.

Katie’s tutor said “As soon as Katie stepped into the classroom you could tell she felt happy and comfortable and it was wonderful to watch her grow in confidence.”

Katie began to feel much better, both physically and mentally, with her positive attitude returning. She said “It was so rewarding to be with other like-minded people who had just lost a little bit of self-belief and confidence.”

After the course Katie secured a part-time role with a travel company which she really enjoys. She has also joined the Open University studying sociology with a view to getting a degree in psychology and criminology and ultimately becoming a forensic psychologist.

Katie added: “The course inspired me. My tutor was fantastic and had belief in me which was just what I needed.”

Fiona Hill, Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health who attended the ceremony said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to the award winners and to all the other learners, many of whom have overcome huge barriers and shown tremendous courage and commitment, despite some of the challenges or difficulties they face.

"Last year 6,000 people enrolled on HAFLS courses. The age of learners ranges from 16 to over 90 years of age. We should never stop learning and I would urge people who haven’t yet taken the opportunity to consider the benefits of learning something new.”

Around 130 people attended the Awards Ceremony to congratulate the winners and runners up.

HAFLS provides courses across Hertfordshire in a variety of subjects such as English, Maths, nutrition, confidence building, boosting employability skills, Arts and Crafts and Digital Skills and Work Skills as well as family learning (learning with your child(ren)) that take place in Family Centres, schools and community venues. They also have two learning hubs, one in Stevenage and one in Waltham Cross, with plans to open additional learning hubs during the next academic year.

Courses are either free or there is a very small fee as they are designed to enhance the lives of local people.

For more information about HAFLS and the courses available please email hafls@hertfordshire.gov.uk, telephone 01992 556194 or go to www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/hafls and look at the events calendar.