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Craven College Positive Progressions wins National Learning Award

Published 07 July

Positive Progressions is an employability project aiming to increase learning and employment opportunities for those furthest away from the labour market, offering holistic support ranging from interview training to mental health support.

Many participants join Positive Progressions facing extremely challenging circumstances and with a range of needs. Positive Progressions works on the basis that learning can only begin once these challenges have been met, whether it’s through providing food parcels, financial advice, or support in building confidence. The project is managed by Craven College.
People then receive one-to-one personalised support from key workers who help them to design action plans with various goals relating to basic skills, health and wellbeing and confidence or other transferrable skills.

For many, success in gaining a certificate or qualification from a one-day course like First Aid provides a massive boost to their wellbeing and happiness, giving them the confidence to progress to further learning.

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. Positive Progressions won the Learning Provision award.

Positive Progressions, winner of the Learning Provision Award, said:
“Our recent evaluation showed that when starting the project, the majority of learners’ mental health was worse than the national average, whereas by the time they left, on average it had exceeded this.
Despite the challenges of lockdown, contact with learners remained steady, with some learners able to access more support virtually and through socially distanced meetings. We’re immensely proud of the support we’ve provided through such a difficult period and are delighted to be recognised through this prestigious award.”

Joanne, one of Positive Progressions’ Participants, said:
“Positive Progressions became even more important to me during lockdown when my anxiety started to get worse – they never gave up on me. My Keyworker helped me to find a volunteering role, complete my college course application, and enrol on a Level 3 childcare course. They’ve given me so much confidence and have always been there to support me.”

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said:
“We congratulate Positive Progressions on the outstanding and crucial work they are doing to support and engage with pre-troubled families who are furthest from the employment market. The personalised approach is making a notable difference to individuals and in turn to their families and communities.
Festival of Learning awards celebrate the commitment and achievements of outstanding adult learners, tutors, learning provision and employers. These stories show us how transformative lifelong learning can be for individuals, families, communities and society. As we look to build back better after the pandemic, we need to redouble our efforts to widen access to lifelong learning.”