A special presentation event was held at Saints’ Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens recently to celebrate the achievements of residents who have used learning to transform and improve their lives.
Organised by St Helens Borough Council’s Adult and Community Learning (ACL) service, the event acknowledged the dedication of learners who have taken positive steps to enrich the lives of themselves and others by gaining skills and qualifications to improve job prospects, support their community and improve their quality of life.
Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Business and Skills, joined the Mayor of St Helens Borough, Councillor Lynn Clarke, in presenting certificates to ACL learners who had attended courses during the past year and gained qualifications in a wide range of subjects including ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), English, maths and digital skills.
Alison Parry was one of ten learners to be awarded on the night for her determination to overcome challenges of using IT on the course to progress onto further learning to improve skills as she looks to fulfil her ambitions of becoming a teaching assistant.
A dental nurse for 23-years years, Alison decided on a career change after having children and so enrolled with ACL which has led to her attending a number of courses including functional skills maths, level 1 caring for children, level 2 supporting teaching and learning, paediatric first aid awareness.
“I’ve gained so much – honestly, it’s absolutely amazing,” Alison said. “I absolutely loved completing the courses. The tutors are brilliant, they are always there for you, they help you through it and I would recommend anybody to do the courses. Honestly, they are really amazing down at ACL.
“It’s prepared me now because I have a midday supervisor job in a school so it’s given me the opportunity to start there and I’m also looking for a teaching assistant job so it’s been absolutely amazing. I’m really looking forward to going becoming a teaching assistant.”
Paying tribute to the learners and the tutors who supported them along the way, Councillor Groucutt, said: “It is truly inspiring to hear the journeys our learners have been on over the past 12-months.
“All our recipients on the night decided to return to learning for different reasons, and I’m delighted that this has had a positive, if not transformational, impact on their lives.
“Each and every one of them has worked so hard to get to this stage. From developing and progressing their English communication skills to gaining qualifications in maths, these people have shown that learning is possible at any age, for any reason and can be for all of us.
“As we have outlined in our Inclusive Growth Strategy, improving skills is crucial for ensuring that our residents are ready to take up the new job opportunities coming to our borough, through developments such as Omega West on the M62 and the regeneration of Parkside colliery.
“Our ACL staff also deserve a special mention for their hard work and dedication to help adult learners flourish.”
This year, the service was awarded more than £200,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority – the highest amount allocated to any other council area in the City Region – to support local Voluntary and Community Action (VCA) organisations for workshop delivery and for ACL to deliver additional workshops and courses to support numeracy skills development around money management and other essential areas during this cost-of-living crisis.
ACL also works with council-run children’s centres to support their school readiness scheme by delivering maths and English courses for parents with children starting school.
For more information on St Helens Borough Council’s Adult Community Learning Service, including course details, visit: www.sthelens.go.uk/adultlearning