First annual awards celebrating lifelong learning skills and Reading’s Adult Learners
Awards for those who have overcome adversity, demonstrated outstanding professional skills, and more
READING Borough Council’s Adult and Community Learning service, New Directions College, celebrated its first annual Adult Learning Awards Ceremony last month.
The College established the Recognition Awards back in the Spring of 2021 as a means of recognising the amazing achievements of adult learners, the staff and volunteers who support them and the partners who deliver vital skills and community learning across Reading.
The ceremony took place on 21 September and there were 12 award categories for learners, staff, volunteers, and partners. Awards were given to those who have overcome adversity, demonstrated independence in learning and who demonstrate outstanding professional skills in teaching and supporting adults. Nominations were made by learners and staff and finalists were selected by a judging panel within the College.
There were winners of all ages, on all courses across New Directions College’s programme of learning, from English and Maths classes to digital and employability skills right the way through to higher-level leadership and management programmes.
Andrea Wood, College Principal and Adult Learning and Skills Manager for Reading Council, said:
“This was a fantastic evening that showcased the individual stories of success and the power of adult and community education. Adult and community learning transforms lives.
“The evening was testament to the vital role the College and our partners have in supporting adults on their journey to learn skills to enter, return or progress in work. We also saw how lifelong learning helps to reduce loneliness and makes people happier, healthier, more confident, capable and resilient. Congratulations to all of our award winners and nominees.”
Stuart Lyons, Team Leader Supervisor Apprenticeship, won in the Outstanding Team Player category. He said:
‘It was a great evening and to be invited and nominated for an award was a fantastic surprise. To see all the nominees together and hear about what everyone had achieved was an amazing experience, if you have the chance to attend in the future I would highly recommend it. Before and during the evening the organisation was seamless’
Harvey Gwyer, Business Administrator Apprentice, won in the Demonstrating independence in learning category. He said:
“It was an honour to be shortlisted and I was very shocked when I actually won! I was grateful to have my hard work recognised and it will be a memory I’ll keep forever.”
Cllr Ruth McEwan, Lead Councillor for Education & Public Health, said:
“New Directions College has been providing adult education in Reading for over 65 years and, the landscape of the town has changed drastically throughout the decades.
“Adult education has often taken the form of evening classes for older people but, in the most recent years, a huge value has been given to learning at all stages of life, including for those in their twenties and thirties.
“Adult education supports individuals with getting work, self-development, better mental health, happiness, and participation in the wider community’s life.
“The positive impact of lifelong learning and its transformative effects include developing critical and reflective skills, fostering a better understanding of our place in the world and our relationship to others, and developing a more secure and fulfilled sense of wellbeing.”
The ceremony was opened by Deputy Mayor of Reading, Cllr Deborah Edwards, and Donna Pentelow, Assistant Director of Culture at Reading Borough Council. Awards were presented by New Directions College Principal, Andrea Wood.
New Directions College has recently been awarded £700k from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to deliver Multiply – an innovative numeracy skills development programme that aims to reach over 1,000 learners over the next three years. Furthermore, the College continues to deliver bespoke adult education courses and support more and more adults into employment with key employers across Reading.
If you’re interested in finding out more about New Directions College, please visit www.newdirectionsreading.ac.uk or call on 0345 842 0012.