The winner of Adult Learner of the Year 2018 was announced by Buckinghamshire Adult Learning at their awards ceremony on 14 June, part of the Festival of Learning.
Over 100 people including nominated learners, tutors, learning support assistants, volunteers and staff attended the annual Adult Learner of the Year Awards ceremony which was held at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury.
Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Mike Appleyard and Sarah Callaghan, Service Director for Education, also attended, with Sarah presenting the awards.
Cllr Mike Appleyard said: "These awards are a wonderful occasion where we can mark the special place of Adult Learning in Buckinghamshire, recognising the achievement of learners and the inspirational work of staff and volunteers across the county."
Leia Oxley won the award for Adult Learner of the Year 2018. She is an English and maths GCSE learner.
Leia’s English tutor, Sarah Oliver, who nominated her for the award, said of her, "Leia is truly a worthy candidate for Learner of the Year. Throughout her course this year she has been beset by extremely challenging medical issues which have included hospital stays, but has made every effort to attend whenever she can, and to catch up with what she’s missed.
"As a result she has made good progress and has embraced every task with flair and enthusiasm. A very courteous and thoughtful member of the class, she is always ready to give support to other learners, and has also worked hard to overcome a natural diffidence to give a very successful and thought-provoking presentation to the class."
Leia said of her learning journey, "I shall never forget being nominated for this award. When I was told, it was the first moment since September that I actually stopped and felt proud that I had managed to keep coming, and make progress. I will always be grateful to my tutors for teaching me, for being very understanding, and for letting me feel proud."
Jill Organ was awarded Tutor of the Year 2018. She is an English tutor who has taught English for Buckinghamshire Adult Learning for eight years. She was nominated for the award by Jo Rickett, a Learning Support Assistant. On nominating her, Jo said,
"Jill’s classes attract a range of learners and for many of them the classroom setting is a bad memory. Jill welcomes all with open arms and works extremely hard to ensure that each learner is able to remove their negative perceptions of returning to a class. She also facilitates a friendly atmosphere, where every learner feels part of the team. They help each other out, laugh together, work hard and achieve together. This is all down to Jill and is a massive achievement considering the range of learners in the class. If you ever walk in to one of Jill's classes, you will always see smiles and learners keen to progress their English. Everyone walks out of Jill's classes a little taller with their own sense of achievement. I cannot think of a more suitable candidate for an award."
Learning Support Assistant of the Year was awarded to Shelley Parry who has worked for Buckinghamshire Adult Learning for seven years on a number of courses for Adults with Learning Disabilities and/or Difficulties.
Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Liz Dack who volunteers in an Art class for Adults with Learning Disabilities.
Also recognised on the night were two City & Guilds Medal for Excellence winners in the student category: Patricia Wallington for Floral Design and Sarah Nicholson for Design & Craft, Stitched Textiles, Patchwork and Quilting. Tutor Janice Gunner was also recognised for her tutor medal award for Patchwork and Quilting.