#changeyourstory, that’s the message from Chwarae Teg to women in Wales who want to make more of their careers.
This Adult Learners’ Week, 17-23 June, the Welsh gender equality charity, is working with some of the shining stars of its own career development programme, to champion the benefits of adult education and encourage others to change their stories too.
Andrea Garvey, Jodi Ann-Hicks and Nicole Kinnaird have all completed a Chwarae Teg – Agile Nation Career Development Programme. They credit the scheme with kick-starting a new chapter in their lives and are now sharing their stories to persuade others to do the same.
Chwarae Teg is also urging women to find out more by signing up for a free webinar about the programme at www.chwaraeteg.com/timeforyou-webinar/, which will run from 1.15pm on Thursday 20 June.
The programme is fully funded by the European Social Fund and Welsh Government and includes the completion of an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualification.
When Andrea of Port Talbot completed an Agile Nation course in 2012 it gave her the confidence to go on to complete a level 5 Management award. Having suffered with mental health issues, including panic attacks, she realised that learning enabled her to focus on something else and in turn her whole outlook on life changed. Andrea finally felt she could fulfil her childhood dream of qualifying in law and did so in style picking up an ‘outstanding contribution’ award on the way, and is currently completing an Maters in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology.
Her sterling efforts have led to her becoming a finalist in the Learner category at Chwarae Teg’s up and coming Womenspire awards. She has also recently been recognised by the Learning and Work Institute, winning the Life Change and Progression award at the Inspire Adult Learning Awards 2019 as well as the ceremony’s overall award – her video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/w8vhCOgzelM
“There is no doubt the Agile Nation programme with Chwarae Teg changed the whole direction of my life and had a profound impact. I want other women to know, that their once burning ambition or long forgotten dreams and goals are not over – not if they don’t want them to be. Just look at me to know, slowly but surely, I rose up and when I did, nothing or no one would ever tell me I can’t, ever again. I say, now it’s your turn, if you can see it, believe me, you can still do it. My mission is now to inspire other women to dare to believe again, so that they too can change their lives and reach their true potential.”
Jodi-Ann, from Cowbridge, is also up for the Womenspire Learner award. Having completed her career development programme with Chwarae Teg earlier this year, she has subsequently been promoted to Operations Manager by her employer, Zimmer Biomet in Bridgend. Jodi also recently addressed women at the latest East Wales graduation ceremony for the ILM programme about how it gave her career a real boost.
“The ILM qualification really gave me the chance to grow as a person and gain newly developed confidence and leadership skills. Following completion of the course I became a member of the company’s senior leadership team and was promoted to Operations Manager. I was the youngest and first female to take on the role but thanks to the new skills I have developed I’ve been able to help my team hit record levels of output.”
In 2018 Nicole of Cardiff won the Womenspire Learner award. She re-entered education as a mature student and will complete her third year of a BA Hons in Education, Psychology, & Special Education Needs at Cardiff Metropolitan University this July. Nicole also developed strategies to help her dyslexic son through school, and believes by specialising in Psychology & SEN she can ensure more pupils achieve their potential through understanding their learning needs and finding ways to overcome them. Nicole’s achievements have come from her determination not to allow her serious disability to stop her from achieving her goals.
“As I learn I have continued to support others to do the same, especially mature students and those that are disabled within the university. Winning the Womenspire 2018 Learners award has assisted me in speaking out about going back to education after a rather terrible health event in my life and I have enjoyed every moment of ensuring that others are positive about their education journey.”
Emma Richards, Women’s Programme Lead at Chwarae Teg, said:
“We are hugely proud of the achievements of all the women who have taken part in our programme over the years. They have not only gained key leadership skills valued by employers but also developed the confidence and motivation to achieve and prosper in the workplace. This Adult Learners’ Week we wanted to highlight some of our shining stars and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Andrea, Jodi-Ann and Nicole really demonstrate what can be achieved and have become real role models for many.
“To date thousands of women in Wales have taken part in our free programme and secured pay rises totalling over £1.6million, so I’d definitely urge other women to sign up for our webinar and find out more.”
Further details regarding the Womenspire Awards are available at www.chwaraeteg.com/womenspire
For more information on Adult Learners’ Week campaign visit: www.adultlearnersweek.wales