Growing up in a conservative part of Nigeria, Joyce Abumujor dreamt of training as a mechanic but was held back from pursuing this dream because she was a girl.
After she was forced to flee her home country, Ms Abumujor settled in the UK and raised her family, hoping for a better life.
Now a mum in her 50s, she has completed qualifications in plumbing and bricklaying at Chesterfield College and started a law degree at the University of Derby.
Ms Abumujor now plans to set up and run an organisation that teaches construction skills to women and girls in Nigeria.
'Nothing can stop me'
Ms Abumujor said: “I have seen how education opens doors for young people, and I want to make sure the girls in Nigeria are given the chances I didn’t have.
“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.”
This is just one of the stories from the winners of the Learning and Work Institute’s Festival of Learning Awards.
The annual ceremony took place today at the Royal Society of the Arts.
Full list of winners:
- Festival of Learning’s Patron’s Award: Terri Cornwell-Dunnett
- English Language Learning Award: Dorjana Llukan, Sutton College
- Young Adult Learner Award: Casey Bougourd, Derwentside College
- Project Award: Changing Lives/No Barriers, Bury College
- Learning for Health Award: Frank McCann, Coventry Adult Education Service
- Outstanding Individual Award: Joyce Abumujor, Chesterfield College/University of Derby
- Tutor Award: Sonia Ritchie-Park, Swan Lodge, Salvation Army
- Return to Learning Award: Washington Shearer, Adult Education Wolverhampton
- Social Impact Award: Steve Whitmore, YMCA
- President’s Award: Equal Voices, ELATT (East London Advanced Technology Training).
- Employer Award: Pladis (McVities factory)
- Learning for Work Award: Tracey Everitt, Islington Council Adult and Community Learning Service
- Senior Learner Award: Bernadette Taylor, University of East London