A mum from Kent has won a national learning award after overcoming severe anxiety to return to learning and train towards becoming a midwife.
Vicky Seagars, 28, has won the Festival of Learning 2019 New Directions award, sponsored by Skills and Education Group, which she received at a ceremony in London.
Vicky was a stay-at-home mum who lived with severe anxiety, making it difficult for her to leave the house. She decided it was time to make a change and create something positive in her family’s lives. With support from the family liaison officer at Canterbury Road Primary School, in Sittingbourne, she started attending family learning courses run by Kent Adult Education with her husband Nick and their children.
The courses gave Vicky the motivation she needed to attend counselling, and with her anxiety under control she felt the time was finally right to pursue her dream of becoming a midwife. Vicky successfully applied to study a midwifery degree at Canterbury Christchurch University and she continues to attend family learning courses at the school with her husband and children.
Vicky has inspired other family members to start learning again and is a source of support and encouragement to other parents at her children’s school.
Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, the Festival of Learning is an annual campaign which aims both to celebrate the power of learning to transform lives, and to encourage more adults to take part.
Vicky said: “I joined the Kent Adult Education courses because I wanted a chance to get out of the house and start to learn again.
“I left education about 8 years ago, just before I had my eldest child. I had two children and developed severe anxiety. I had always wanted to be a midwife, but the anxiety stopped me. When I attended the Adult Education Courses it was a huge boost for me.”
“I’m now in my second year of midwifery training and my anxiety rarely affects my life anymore. My children say how proud they are of me for persevering and being brave enough to do something I’ve always wanted to do. They’ve become more enthusiastic about their own learning and my sister and my husband now attend courses through the school too.”
Caroline Grover, curriculum leader at Kent Adult Education, said: “Our family learning courses give parents the opportunity to return to education within a supportive environment, learning not only how to support their children’s learning, but also to improve their own and their families’ futures. Vicky has grabbed this opportunity and soared to new heights! Congratulations to a truly inspirational mum!”
Sue Babin, school Family Liaison Officer said: “I nominated Vicky as she has overcome so many obstacles to achieve what she has, from when I first knew her, when her daughter started at Canterbury Road Primary School, Vicky has grown hugely in confidence through attending the Kent Adult Education Family Learning courses.
“She has surpassed any expectations I had of her and now she is giving something back to the community too by being inspirational to other parents.”
Vicky encouraged a family member to attend a Teaching Assistant course which she successfully completed. She has now commenced the teaching assistant course and has gained a volunteer placement in a local primary school and in a local crèche.
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute said: “Through attending the courses at her children’s school, Vicky has established a culture of learning within her own family, demonstrating to her children the powerful impacts of learning at any age. We are delighted to give this award to Vicky and wish her every success in her degree and becoming a fully qualified midwife.
“Festival of Learning is all about the inspirational stories of people like Vicky, which show that everyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try so if you’ve been inspired by Vicky’s story, and if you want to find out how learning could benefit you, get in touch your local college, community learning provider or the National Careers Service.”