Families, friends, councillors and teaching staff looked on as the Mayor of Islington, Cllr Rakhia Ismail, presented learners with certificates recognising their commitment in passing maths, English, ICT, ESOL or vocational courses.
With a range of subjects at different levels and catering for different learning styles many people are able to use the qualifications as a stepping stone to broaden their choices and to move into employment.
Liz recently started work as a support worker after completing an Introduction to Adult Social Care course. “I hadn’t worked for over 25 years as I was bringing up my children but now they are off to university so it was time to do something for me. Six months ago I honestly thought I would only ever get a dead end job that I didn’t enjoy, doing things I didn’t care about but now I have a career. This has changed my life. I would just say to anyone thinking about taking a course that you have nothing to lose.”
While some undertake courses to upskill and change careers, others may choose core subjects such as English or Maths to further their studies.
Olga, who is originally from Romania, explains what a difference taking an ESOL course has made to her personal life. “I am very happy that I have been given the chance to learn English because I had a big problem speaking, listening and understanding and when you don’t understand it’s horrible. Now, if someone asks me the way I can answer them and I feel so proud.”
Taking the course has also helped her professional life “I am studying in Morley College in my first term of professional sewing and tailoring. The course is in English and I am happy that I can now understand so can learn something new. I work part-time doing alterations in a dry-cleaners shop and as a cleaner but now I would like to find a job in the fashion industry.”
Stephen, who was rewarded for his outstanding commitment and attitude on his Entry Level English course explains, “A couple of years ago I got laid off of work and when I went to the Job Centre I kept on getting forms. I couldn’t read them or fill them out so I had to go to my brother who did it all for me.
“When I was school I bunked off and I really regret that but now it’s good though because I have been shown what I have been missing out on. I feel sorry for people that are missing out because I was one of the kids at school who knew it all and was a bit flash. One teacher said you’ll regret this and I laughed at him, but now I see what the bloke was telling me
My family are quite pleased for me. Everyone was laughing because I took homework home . They said you never did it at school so why are you doing it now and I told them it’s because I want to. The course has got me thinking a bit more and getting up and out a lot more – I was just sitting around and this has given me more confidence.”
Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs said: "These awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the hard work, dedication and achievements of our adult learners.
The support and wide range of free courses that are available are suitable to anyone returning to education as an adult. They allow people to try a subject they previously couldn't access, build confidence and widen their skills base helping them into new, exciting and secure careers. The example of the learners being honoured at this year’s ceremony just goes to show that anyone can re-enter education and excel whatever their age and previous experience.”
Islington Adult Community Learning courses include:
- Various levels in English and Maths
- Employability support including CV workshops
- Vocational courses, including introductory courses in adult social care, administration, customer service and hospitality and catering
- ICT and Digital Skills
For a full list of the free courses that are currently on offer, please check our Adult Community Learning website.