As the 2015 Festival of Learning draws to a close, we want to take the opportunity to invite everyone to try a new subject and learn something new. Whether you want to have a go at geography or explore economics, visit our website to download a free sample of our course materials. You can do this on the website page for each different course. Here’s an example:
The Festival of Learning also included the 24th annual Adult Learners’ Week (ALW). Each year, ALW provides an opportunity to praise lifelong learning and the achievements of thousands of adult learners across the UK.
Events took place all week to raise the profile of adult learning opportunities. Hundreds of people got involved in free taster sessions in lots of different subjects from how to decorate a cookie and sewing techniques to digital imaging and learning a language.
During the week there were also regional and national awards ceremonies. These inspirational evenings celebrate the achievements of individual learners and organisations in categories such as Learning for Work and Digital Learning. Thousands of nominations for these awards are submitted each year by organisations who are proud of their learners and achievements.
NEC is no exception and although it is always difficult for us to choose just one student – we are proud of them all – this year we nominated Catherine Speechly. Catherine didn’t win the award this time, but she did receive a certificate of achievement in recognition of her commitment to learning.
Catherine was frustrated when she was at school that she had to drop some subjects because there was a limit to the number of GCSEs pupils could do. Now in her 40s, she is catching up with the subjects she left behind. When Catherine wanted to study biology, she knew that distance learning was the right way to go as she would not have been able to work around a college timetable. She had already had a taste of open and distance learning when she did a course in web design a few years ago.
The decision to opt for NEC was a simple one: ‘When I enquired about the course, I got a proper reply from a human being rather than being sent in the direction of information on a website.’ The NEC also offered value for money in comparison with the other options she had researched and allowed her to study at her own pace. She began studying in May 2012 and passed her IGCSE with an A* two years later. She continues to study, and is now working on IGCSE French.
‘Distance learning with NEC has been just what I hoped it would be,’ said Catherine. ‘In fact, it has exceeded my expectations as everything has worked – the tutors and the course materials have all been great. The tutors are so encouraging with their comments and don’t inundate you with loads of heavy corrections. They manage to point you in the right direction with just a few words, even if you have lost the plot! I particularly liked the way NEC was able to arrange for me to sit my exams at a local centre. All I had to do was fill in a form, pay and turn up for the exams!’
Our CEO Ros Morpeth was delighted to attend the National Awards Ceremony in London. She said: ‘The Adult Learners’ Week awards are always a great experience and this year was no exception. One of the best things about working in the lifelong learning sector is getting to meet some truly inspirational individuals for whom education has provided the opportunity to change their lives and the lives of those around them.’
Did you take part in any events during the Festival of Learning? Keep up-to-date with the latest Adult Learners’ Week news and talk about your learning experiences on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #LoveToLearn!