A woman from Sutton-in-Ashfield has won this year’s Festival of Learning Outstanding Individual Learner Award.
Joyce Abumujor won the award for her exceptional achievements in adult learning.
At the same awards, Andrew Humphries, from Mansfield, was highly commended in the Learning For Work category, again for his achievements in adult learning.
Growing up in Nigeria, Joyce wanted to train as a mechanic, but was denied this opportunity because of her gender.
After fleeing her own country in search of safety, she settled in the UK and raised her family.
However, Joyce remained keen to get the education she always dreamed of and in 2016, she signed up for construction courses at Chesterfield College.
Having completed level one plumbing and level two bricklaying, Joyce is now studying for level two plumbing.
She has also started a law degree at the University of Derby and plans to access other courses to gain the skills she needs.
Joyce has set her sights on setting up and running an organisation that teaches construction skills to women and girls in Nigeria, enabling them to build a brighter future.
On a mission to help change the lives of vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria, Joyce returned to learning to develop her construction skills.
Joyce said: “Now I’m back in education nothing is going to stop me
I want to be part of making a change and my learning is giving me the tools to do that.”
Andrew, 45, had always found it difficult to read and write and struggled to pass his exams.
While working at Mansfield Council, he attended a standard dyslexia screening appointment where he was diagnosed.
Armed with new motivation, Andrew undertook a series of learning and qualifications with support for his disability.
He achieved entry level one functional skills in reading, writing and maths and progressed to level one English and maths within two years.
Alongside this, he studied and achieved qualifications specific to his career goals such as horticulture, health and safety and team leading.
He is now studying a level three apprenticeship in horticulture and is working towards becoming a supervisor – his long-term dream.
He said: “Before diagnosis, I was frustrated, angry and sometimes depressed.
“Now I feel on top of the world.
“I have new hobbies, I’m more engaged with the community, but most of all I have proved that if you are positive and driven you can achieve your goals.”