Festival of Learning – Congratulations Jo Wyard

Congratulations to former HKF bursary winner Jo Wyard for winning the New Directions Award at the Festival of Learning awards 2022 yesterday!

Here is Jo’s story:

Jo Wyard left school with few qualifications, becoming a single mother for the fourth time was a pivotal moment for Jo, as she began to reconsider the role model she wanted to be for her children. At age 41, more than two decades after leaving school, Jo took take a leap of faith and stepped into a classroom.

After accepting voluntary redundancy during pregnancy and separating with her husband, a Family Support Practitioner at Jo’s local Children’s Centre had encouraged her to apply for an Access to HE course at Suffolk New College. Jo passed with flying colours and went on to graduate with a BA in Social Work at the University of Suffolk, and an MSc in Psychology, graduating top of the class. Jo is now working as a Children & Young People’s Social Worker for Suffolk County Council.

Learning has not only changed Jo’s own mindset and perception of herself, but it has also helped her maintain a close bond and set the example she wants for her children as they embark on their own journeys through  school.

Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, 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.

Shahida Aslam, Director of Operations, Helena Kennedy Foundation, said: ”Jo has shown tremendous courage by taking the steps she did to go back to education as a mature student. She had to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, and we are so proud of what she has accomplished and continues to do so.”

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: Jo’s story demonstrates the life-changing effect learning can have on your outlook on life and career prospects. Heading back into learning following a period away and out of work is difficult, but it has transformed Jo’s life and led her to a new career path which she loves. We are delighted to present Jo with this award and wish her every success in the future.”

Paul Eeles, Chief Executive at Education and Training Group, said: “Each year, the Festival of Learning awards shine a spotlight on inspiring individuals with incredible stories. Each award winner is a reminder of the power of education to make a difference – at all stages of life.

At Skills and Education Group, we are committed to supporting and championing lifelong learning. It is therefore a real pleasure for us to be involved with the Festival of Learning and to sponsor the New Directions Award. It is never too late to change your direction in life, and the winners are shining examples of that.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and particularly to Jo Wyard, winner of the New Directions Award. I wish Jo all the best in her exciting new chapter as a social worker.”