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Celebration of Learning

award-winners-2016_tcm44-267095In a ceremony organised by our Adult Community Education Service, we have recognised the achievements of Derbyshire residents who have changed their lives and those of others through learning. This took place as part of the Festival of Learning, which is a national celebration.

Learners from across the county had been nominated and their stories showed that by joining a local class they had since improved their career prospects or made a difference to their local community. Many had overcome health problems or conquered a fear of learning in order to gain new qualifications and skills.

Learners of the Year 2016

Jonathan Almond, Jeremy Knight, David Murfin, Matthew Noone, Micky Wilson

Jonathan, Jeremy, David, Matthew and Micky are a group of learners with a learning disability who started out as volunteers at the Derbyshire Eco Centre in 2011. They have gone on to achieve two qualifications in this time and are now embarking on their third! Through volunteering, and undertaking these qualifications, the learners help to maintain and improve the Eco Centre grounds through practical tasks such as paving, gardening, habitat management and tools maintenance. They have completed the Award and Certificate at Entry Level 3 in Practical Countryside Skills and are now in the process of completing their Diplomas.

Young Learner of the Year 2016

Gareth Maslbury

Gareth deserves recognition for the vast improvement he has made in his confidence and social skills, as well as the huge array of courses he has undertaken in order to achieve this. When Gareth first joined DACES, he was quiet and was reluctant to engage with staff or other members of the group. Since starting his course, his confidence and communication skills have increased immensely. He will now initiate conversation, he joins in with group discussions and helps out other members of the group with his computer knowledge. During his group discussion in English he took control of organising the preparations encouraging his classmates to decide what areas of the topic they wanted to work on. Gareth is now on a part time Study Programme and is currently in placement in the community at the Freedom Project in Bolsover.

How learning has been used by a person to make a difference to their local community

Doreen Astle

Doreen achieved a Level 2 Certificate in Administration Certificate last year, researching independently her areas of interest for further professional development, and has returned this year to study the Level 2 Diploma in Administration. As well as often being approached by family and friends to produce professional-looking business letters, Doreen has developed skills in researching and filtering relevant information, emphasising and formatting text, printing and binding documents, which she has used to help her local community produce a rebuttal document against a planning application. As a direct result of this intervention, she has now been asked to sit on the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee for the village.

To find a course visit

Thanks to Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service for this month’s blog.

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