Hampshire Resident Wins Regional Festival of Learning Award
Steven Tyrell from Hampshire has been announced as winner of the Festival of Learning Outstanding Individual Learner award for the London and South East region for his exceptional achievement in adult learning. This award celebrates adults who, through learning, have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work.
Steven was serving a four-year sentence at HMP Winchester. Before going into prison, he had never completed any formal training and only managed to secure low paid jobs, which contributed to Steven going to prison. Whilst serving his sentence, he grasped the learning opportunities offered to him by Milton Keynes College, enrolling on a Level 1 Food Preparation course.
Steven found his passion and was given a job in the kitchen. He was later chosen for the Employment Academy, supported by Premier Inn. As soon as he was released, Premier Inn offered him a full time job. Now, with the confidence and skills he has gained, he intends to enrol on a Level 3 preparation course to support his career development.
Steven discusses the impact of learning on his life: “Returning to learning really does count and so do the opportunities that come your way. If I can make such big changes to my life and for my family I know that other prisoners can as well.”
His nominator, Maxine Bennett, Deputy Director Innovation & Development at Milton Keynes College adds: “The positive impact of his learning is a real inspiration to those in prison that change can really happen if you want it to.”
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: “Steven’s story brilliantly demonstrates the power of education to help people change their lives. Re-offending rates in this country are unacceptably high, at a huge cost to society and the economy. Steven has made the most of the learning opportunities that have come his way and I hope, through his award, he can become a role model for others.
“Lifelong learning is crucial for all of us as jobs and society changes around us, and as the working population gets older. Festival of Learning is all about people being inspired by stories like Steven’s. We encourage everyone to get involved in learning and access information on learning opportunities and support with the costs of learning that might be available such as through Advanced Learner Loans or from the National Careers Service, as well as talking to their local colleges and providers about what’s on offer.