“Finding Adult Learning Wales changed my life!” | Adult Learning Wales

“Finding Adult Learning Wales changed my life!”


Our learner, Cathy Cavender who has completed her Counselling studies, and is now studying her L3 Award in Education and Training course shares her story with us.

Cathy says, “Finding Adult Learning Wales changed my life! I am living and breathing proof that Adult Learning Wales (ALW) embodies these visions! Despite living with a chronic health condition and struggling with financial hardship, learning with ALW has enabled me to realise my dream of career change and achieving a flexible work-life balance that is tenable both health-wise and finance-wise.

Economic empowerment – ALW supported me with reduced fees when I was on disability benefit due to long Covid / ME. This enabled me to break down financial barriers to studying and I am now able to start working self-employed again.

Personal fulfilment – ALW has enabled me to follow my passions in counselling and teaching and realised my dream of having fulfilling work that is tenable for a long-term career. This is very tricky for me to do whilst living within the limitations of chronic illness.

Community cohesions – I studied with ALW throughout the lockdowns, for much of which I was living in social isolation due to chronic health conditions. Studying with ALW supported my mental health by giving me a mental focus and a sense of belonging and purpose.

Post-Covid resilience – I am recovering from an illness relapse due to a bad Covid infection. ALW enabled me to access my current course on a hybrid basis, so that I don’t need to find the energy for travel as well as full days of study. Without this I wouldn’t have been able to access the course.

Equitable provision – ALW’s reduced fees have meant that I have been able to re-train in a new career despite a very limited income from benefits. Without the reduced fees I would not have manged to make ends meet financially.

Learner-centric approach – The communication with ALW has always been exceptional. Nicola does an incredible job of meeting learner needs. I have felt like a ‘person’ rather than a ‘number’ throughout. The tutors get to know individual learners and provide individualised support. I have felt like I matter, which has been a source of motivation and growing self-esteem during a challenging time in my life.

Integrated support services and life-long progression – During my time studying with ALW I have completed two courses to become a qualified counsellor and am currently completing an Award in Education and Training. I plan to teach Adult Education courses for ALW soon, including lower-level counselling courses. I now have life-long career options ahead of me!

Studying with ALW has literally brought my life back to life! I have struggled to build a tenable and fulfilling life for myself for the last 22 years, since I was diagnosed with chronic illness. ALW have given me back the belief that this is possible. I have been treated with consideration and respect and it has been wonderful! Thank you so much to all involved!

I look forward to being able to work with ALW and will be proud to be part of ALW efforts to embody these visions.”

We would like to congratulate Cathy on her determination and hard work, and wish her well with her future studies!

If you would like to find out more about out courses, click here.

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