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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Regional awards for Cumbrian mature students

Two mature students have been honoured for turning their lives around.

Laurean Heslop, from Carlisle, and Melinda Pettit, of Workington, will both pick up regional gongs for their educational achievements.

The pair have been recognised in the Open College Network awards, which take place at a glitzy ceremony at The Sage in Gateshead on Friday.

Mum-of-two Laurean, of Morton, will scoop the life-changing learning prize for completing the My Life Now course. The qualification gives students a gentle introduction back into learning and focuses on assertiveness and decision-making.

Laurean, 46, who has overcome profound issues in her personal life, has managed to boost her confidence and reduce her anxieties.

She has now progressed onto another employability course and works voluntarily at a cafe.

She said: “By doing this course and winning the award I hope it is inspiration for other women to change their lives.”

Melinda, 39, has been awarded the ‘certificate of recognition’, which was created especially for her as judges were so impressed by her nomination. The mum-of-four completed the New Direction course which is designed to help students who are struggling to find work.

She is being honoured for helping to engage with and involve her fellow students and for being positive during every task. She said: “It’s been a great opportunity and has made a massive difference to my life.”

Learning opportunities and courses are available for people all over the county as part of Cumbria Adult Education.

It is part of Cumbria County Council’s drive to help get people back into employment and further training.

Patricia Bell, cabinet member for community services, congratulated the trio on their accolades. She said: “No matter what background people come from or what experiences they’ve been through, it’s never too late to start studying and learning, whether it be for fun, to increase employment opportunities or just for a sense of achievement.”

  • Woodwork tutor Ged Close, from Whitehaven, will be handed the ‘learner’s choice’ award.

The 62-year-old teaches a group of eight adults with learning disabilities one day a week to help them live independently and secure employability skills.

He has been recognised for inspiring his students to reach their potential and increasing their confidence.

He said: “I am honoured to receive this award. I have had a life-long involvement in education but my work with adults with learning difficulties over the last few years has been most rewarding. The students I work with are a pleasure to teach. It is wonderful to see their pride, confidence and skills develop week-by-week and month-by-month.”

Ged, who is employed by Cumbria Adult Education, also praised the team he works with, including support staff, for their help.

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