“Inspirational” student Debra wins HE Learner of the Year Award
Swansea University student Debra White has been named as the winner of this year’s National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) Dysgu Cymru Higher Education Learner of the Year Award.
The adult learning charity held the Inspire! Adult Learner Awards at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall last night (Thursday, May 12), as part of its Adult Learners’ Week national campaign, which runs until Saturday, May 21.
Debra, from Llanelli, is a single mother with two children who is studying part-time for her BA English degree course through the University’s Department of Adult Continuing Education, at the Foothold Centre in Llanelli.
She also works full time for WH Smith – often working early mornings to arrive on time for her classes, before returning to work late in the evening.
Debra, who said returning to learning filled her with both excitement and trepidation, said: “I knew it would be a life-changing experience as my love of literature had always left an unfulfilled void in my life. Those doubts now seem a lifetime away as I am more than halfway through my degree.
“It has been hard work, but I relish Monday mornings, these are my little oasis. I have learnt things I never thought possible. I can only encourage anyone who has any doubts about returning to learning, the enjoyment and achievement at finishing each module outweighs any negativity; and age should never be a barrier.
“You have the chance to become more confident both educationally and socially and meet people from all walks of life who start off with the same insecurities.”
Congratulating Debra on her achievement, Director of Adult Continuing Education at Swansea University Professor Colin Trotman said: “I am delighted that Debra has received recognition for her studies. She is an inspirational student and a credit to the Department.
“As an outstanding student on our unique part-time degree programme, which has been established in the community for over 20 years, Debra has managed to balance work, family commitments and study successfully.
“She is to be congratulated on gaining this esteemed award and I wish her well with the remainder of her studies. We are all very proud of her.”
Debra was nominated for the NIACE Dysgu Cymru award by her English tutor and Swansea poet Peter Thabit Jones, who added: “Debra is undertaking a degree with the aim of teaching in the Post-16 education sector. She has even found time to assist Polish immigrants, living in the Llanelli area, with their use of English.
“I feel she is inspirational in her approach to a busy schedule; she is diligent and never complains about her workload outside of the classroom.
“Debra has a positive attitude and is liked and admired by her fellow students. For me she is the embodiment of a student making a real effort to learn in quite exceptional circumstances.”
Adult Learners' Week 2011 runs from Saturday, May 14 until Saturday May 21. For more information about free learning events and activities, call the free helpline on 0800 100 900, or visit www.yourfuturechoiceaction.org.uk.
For more information about Swansea University’s Department of Adult Continuing Education visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/dace/.
This news item has been generated by Bethan Evans, Swansea University Public Relations Office, Tel: 01792 295049 or email email@example.com.