Two Eastbourne women – Julie Dirico and Diana Lelliott – are celebrating today after being crowned the winners at a regional ceremony for the learndirect Inspiration Awards.
Julie won the ‘into work’ award whilst Diana won the ‘inspiring learner’ award in the south region at a ceremony at Wokefield Park in Reading.
Julie, 49, is an inspirational single mum. She suffers from ME but was determined to update her IT skills to help her get back into work and be a role model for her son. Her illness meant she was forced to take breaks from her learning but she refused to give up and always returned with renewed vigour. After achieving a level 1 IT qualification at Eastbourne Library, her new skills helped her to gain a job as a receptionist, where she is now thriving in her new found independence. She continues to learn and is now about to complete a level 2 qualification alongside work.
On receiving her award, Julie said, “I’ve been on quite a journey. The wonderful staff at learndirect have helped me a lot. My dream to get back into work came true and it couldn’t have happened without learndirect.”
Diana, 58, has overcome a lot during her life after her education suffered when she was a young girl. An accident involving a fire meant she spent most of her childhood in hospital undergoing major surgery and as a result her learning and confidence was affected. She was referred to learndirect at Eastbourne Library by Jobcentre Plus to improve her skills and CV and chances of finding a job. Despite lacking in confidence and continuing to undergo regular operations to relieve her pain, Diana has completed her qualifications and has started working as a volunteer in Eastbourne Library. She is a now a valued member of the team and she says without the support from learndirect she wouldn’t be where she is today.
On receiving her award, Diana said, “I lost my job two years ago but with the help of my tutors I gained qualifications and confidence. It’s been really good and inspirational.”
Regional winners will now go forward to a national judging panel, where they will compete with others from across England, Scotland and Wales for a national award. The national winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in London on June 11.
For more information visit the website at www.learndirect.com/awards