Essential Skills equals award success for Wilma
An Aughnacloy woman has won a prestigious award at this year’s Essential Skills Awards.
Wilma Graham was announced as winner of the Co Tyrone Essential Skills Learner of the Year 2011 award at a glittering ceremony held at Hillsborough Castle.
Traditionally nervous with numeracy, Wilma decided to return to study in order to become positive role model for her daughter. However, she overcame her fear of maths to achieve an Essential Skills Level 1 and Level 2 Numeracy qualification through First Steps Women’s Centre, Dungannon. Not only has Wilma proved to be an inspiration to other classmates with similar learning anxieties, her qualifications have helped her to find employment.
Wilma says of her experience: “I have overcome my fear and frustration around numbers. It gives me a great sense of power and freedom when helping with my daughter’s homework or decorating the house.”
Congratulating Wilma on her success, Employment and Learning Minister, Danny Kennedy, said: “Wilma’s return to learning has not only been of great personal benefit, but has allowed her to play a full part in her daughter’s education, showing yet another facet of how Essential Skills helps change lives. Wilma is a very worthy recipient of this award.”
The Minister went on to highlight the benefits of improved Essential Skills, including greater self-confidence, improved job prospects and career opportunities. He said: “To date, over 56,000 learners have gained almost 100,000 qualifications through my Department’s free Essential Skills provision and, in doing so, have helped to build better futures. In the current economic climate, where employers need a workforce that is literate, numerate and confident with ICT, the need for investment in Essential Skills has never been greater.”
The Minister continued: “It is vital that we bring learning to the vast majority of adults already in employment, many of whom have moved beyond the reach of the traditional education system. A continuing commitment to Essential Skills provision will deliver the workplace skills which are essential for both economic growth and personal progression and are necessary for people to be able to adapt to change.”
Speaking at the event, Catherine Bell, Deputy Secretary at the Department for Employment and Learning, said: “Everyone honoured today exemplifies the commitment and dedication of learners right across Northern Ireland. The Essential Skills Awards are a fitting acknowledgement of their efforts and I congratulate each of the winners on their success.”
This is the fourth year of the Awards, which are designed to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements in literacy, numeracy and ICT learning. In addition to the six regional award winners and 20 Highly Commended entries, an ICT award, a Trade Union award and an overall Learner of the Year award were presented. An Essential Skills Champion, in recognition of the outstanding contribution by an individual to the Essential Skills agenda, was announced and an award for Essential Skills Quality of Provision was also presented.