Inspirational Hertfordshire adults prove it’s never too late to learn
Outstanding community learners and their supporters have been recognized at Hertfordshire County Council’s Step2Skills 2021 Achievement Awards.
The awards, which took place at Hatfield House on Thursday, October 7, celebrate the work and achievements of adults and youth who have participated in community learning and employment support programs over the past year, as well as their tutors, mentors and coaches who have helped impact their success.
Many learners have successfully completed courses or have been guided towards employment, in difficult and demanding circumstances.
Hertfordshire County Council Chief Richard Roberts said: “Adults who continue to learn throughout their lives are undoubtedly healthier, happier and have greater self-confidence and greater confidence. great self-esteem.
“This is why we are doing everything possible to ensure that everyone in Hertfordshire, regardless of age or background, has access to education, skills development and opportunities so that they can continue to grow and learn throughout life.
“Each year, around 5,000 learners and project participants from diverse backgrounds enroll in Step2Skills programs, showing a strong commitment to learning, often in difficult and challenging situations.
“I am delighted to support the Adult Achievement Awards to recognize the incredible achievements of all of our winners and finalists, but also to thank the many tutors and mentors who went above and beyond to encourage our learners.
“The acceptance speeches were heartwarming in describing the learning journey and the support on the job. “
Some of the highlights of the evening included the story of James Aston of Abbotts Langley, who joined Step2Skills (known at the time as HAFLS) in 2019, having been unable to secure regular paid employment due to low confidence and concerns about job interviews.
James was used to living with autism, but found it difficult to work in teams and in noisy environments.
Having benefited from the Step2Skills program, James now works part-time while studying at Open University. He has spoken at conferences and was featured in the service’s supported employment promotional video – all things he wouldn’t have been confident to do before joining the program.
The event recognized the achievements of learners and participants in the Step2Skills project during a particularly difficult academic year, with guest speakers and presenters including Deputy Lieutenant Fergus McMullen; Lionel Wallace High Sheriff of Hertfordshire; Cllr Richard Roberts, Head of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC); Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at HCC, Cllr Terry Douris, Executive Member for Education, Libraries and Lifelong Learning at HCC; Scott Crudgington, Director of Resources at HCC; Steven Lee-Foster, Director of Operations for Adult Care Services at HCC, alongside members of the Step2Skills Advisory Board.
The prizes were awarded for the following categories:
> Skills Participant of the Year – Winner John Cooper, Finalist Lianne Ames
> Online Learner of the Year – Winner Rohan Chopra, finalist David Steward
> Outstanding Young Director of the Year – Winner Ruth Knowles, Runner Up Lauren Davey
> Step to Employment Award – Winner James Aston, Finalist Matthew Corcoran
> Inspirational Learner Award – Winner Sharon Ross, Finalist Alex Longmore / Yvonne Jackson
> Coach / Mentor of the Year – Winner Sarah Ittoo, finalist Bernadine Makins
> Upskilling by Volunteering Prize – Winner Bolatito Adepoju, Finalist Renata Wiktor
> Subcontractor of the Year Award – EM Skills winner, Watford Women’s Center finalist.