Learner Success Stories - Buckinghamshire Adult Learning

Learner Success Stories

We are very proud of our learners and what they have achieved. Read below some of their success stories.

Man holding certificates


Jim first attended an Outreach information and advice appointment at Chesham Job Centre, in July 2018 and enrolled onto a Get Connected, Get Selected course. Following this course James progressed onto an intensive Positive Pathways course in December 2018. At the end of this course Jim met with an Outreach Officer to discuss his progression and enrolled onto a new accredited Award in Employability Level 1, starting in March 2019. This course was long and intensive and James showed 100% commitment and attendance. After his success with attending Outreach courses, we discussed Jim coming along for an English and maths assessment. He started entry level maths in July 2019 and now attends Functional Skills maths L1, alongside Functional Skills L1 English in October 2019. Jim always shows great commitment to his courses, often walking from Chesham to get to his class in Amersham!

“I have become more confident in my writing and also rebuilding my confidence on a computer, using email and writing a word document. The employability courses have built my confidence looking for work, helping me with my CV and having a mock interview.”

Woman in pink top cutting tomatoes


Hannah joined Adult learning in November 2011 enrolling on an Employability course and Community Volunteering course. Hannah wanted to meet new friends and develop her confidence.
Since attending those first courses Hannah has enjoyed experiencing a wide range of learning opportunities within Adult Education including textiles, cookery and health and well being classes.
Friends and relations have commented on how Hannah has used the skills she has learnt at home and the impact the classes have made to her health and well being.
Hannah does not let her disabilities stop her from doing things that she enjoys, or even trying new things. She is justifiably proud of the progress she has made especially what she has created in her textiles class.

Hannah says, “Coming to college has helped me make lots of new friends who care about me.

Man in blue check shirt


Jerry joined Adult learning in January 2020 enrolling on a Creative Writing course with tutor Gabrielle Mullarkey.

He says, “I cannot speak highly enough of her. She was at all times, a generous teacher. Her insight into the world of writing was invaluable for a new starter like myself. I only started writing last January when I attended the first course and then quickly signed up for the next one which we did online. What was really great about her teaching was the way she picked up on areas of our work where we could develop the pieces. She was able to highlight, the good AND the bad in the pieces in a really sensitive and positive manner. This made the sessions a joy. She also demonstrated a great knowledge of literature and recommended works to read that would help with our writing.” Since the lockdown Jerry has written a great deal and now has over 100 pieces completed. He is in contact with a consultant who he hopes will help him build towards getting some work published. You can ready Jerry’s story here: https://thewritersblock.org.uk/library/the-exercise-police-by-jerry-bignell/

Jerry says, “So, all in all, attending your courses has really inspired me. I am most grateful.



Florence attended the accredited Employability course at Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, having previously attended various other courses at BAL, – Positive Pathways, Get Connected Get Selected and Suited, Booted and Recruited.
The Employability course felt like a natural progression for her and was the learning pinnacle of a slow but steady journey towards wellbeing and recovery from a very low base, having been street homeless and then hospitalised with pneumonia just 12 months earlier. She said, “On the course I not only learned really valuable skills, I also was made to believe in myself more, as others believed in me. I learned PowerPoint, interview skills and I did a presentation on personal hygiene and appearance. Everything I learned I was able to pass on to others in my role as peer mentor to clients who are recovering from misusing substances and striving for the recovery I am so grateful for today. The Employability course, being the longest one I’ve done, also was a good lesson for me in that it taught me that I can start something and complete it, which is not something I’ve always managed to do. Since completing the course, I have done childminding and hair braiding for clients on an ad-hoc basis and both of these are things I would never have had the confidence to consider prior to the Employability course.I would recommend this course to anybody who feels a bit stuck or trapped or not able to make the next step towards work.”

Lady in glasses wearing red shirt in front of door


Elzabe first attended an Outreach information and advice appointment at Aylesbury Job Centre, in June 2019 and enrolled onto the accredited NOCN Level 1 Award in Employability. At the end of this course Elzabe met with an Outreach Officer to discuss her progression and booked in for an English and maths assessment. As a result she attended an intensive Level 1 English course in August and then enrolled onto a Fast track GCSE Level 2 course, which will finish in May 2020. Alongside her English course, Elzabe is also attending L2 maths and L1/2 Digital skills, learning new skills which she has already applied in her part-time job. Elzabe also attended a Building Confidence through Effective Communication course and is now attending Managing Stress with Mindfulness Techniques.
Elzabe values the small class sizes in Adult Learning and the opportunity to make new friends. She has a very caring nature and always offers to help others and even persuaded a fellow class mate on her Confidence Building course to book in for their English assessment!

Elazbe says “Buckinghamshire Adult Learning opened a new world of opportunities to me. I learned and am still learning new skills, which I need to change directions in my career. The courses here are so directed at personal development and have given my confidence a tremendous boost.”

Woman sitting next to computer


Tracy heard about Outreach Adult Learning courses through the Shaw Trust and Jobcentreplus. She attended Confidence Building, Stress Management, Get Connected, Get Selected (IT) and Suited, Booted and Recruited (interview skills) and is now enrolled on a Maths course at Quarrendon. Tracy has also taken on another new challenge and has become a volunteer with Adult Learning, supporting a class of Adults with Learning Disabilities.
Tracy has been out of work for seven years due to caring for a family member but says that coming to courses with Adult Learning has given her a new perspective on herself and what she can achieve. She says that she would never have thought about getting a maths qualification if she hadn’t been encouraged to go for an assessment by Outreach staff.

“I wish I had done this a year ago! These courses have pushed me to achieve and now I want to get a job. I really enjoy the interaction in class and the support I receive to focus on my skills gaps – decimals and fractions!”



Last year Frances decided to take the plunge and return to education.  She’d had a difficult time at secondary school and was always haunted by her lack of formal qualifications. With her two children both at full time school she felt it was perfect timing to correct the past and move on! She successfully gained a Level 2 Functional Skills in Mathematics and it was with immense satisfaction that she achieved a level 8 in GCSE English.

She knew she wanted to return to a role in education and her positive experience at Buckinghamshire Adult Learning made her realise just how much she enjoyed the adult learning environment. She decided to become a volunteer and now assists twice a week with a functional skills English class and an ESOL class. In the long term, she hopes to move into a permanent LSA role and is keen to explore the idea of undertaking the CELTA qualification and becoming an ESOL tutor.

Frances says, “Enrolling at Buckinghamshire Adult Learning was a definite turning point in my life.  I’ve not only gained the qualifications I wanted but also confidence, new friends and a positive feeling for the future.”



Sheyla studied for English and maths GCSE with Buckinghamshire Adult Learning. She wanted to give herself a better chance of getting a job at a school, which would fit around her family life. She achieved grade 6 in both subjects which gave her the confidence to apply for jobs and has now started work as a learning support assistant at a primary school in Gerrards Cross.

Sheyla says, “Achieving grade 6 in Maths and English gave me the confidence to go out there and apply for jobs. A task especially difficult as I have been a mum at home with my two little ones for the past seven years. I can’t thank the tutors enough for their dedication. They were absolutely great at supporting us through the process.”

Chris Marsh


Chris has been unemployed for a number of years but was referred to Buckinghamshire Adult Learning by Jobcentreplus in May 2018.

Our Outreach Officer enrolled him onto a Get Connected, Get Selected course to develop his IT skills and he progressed onto a Suited, Booted, Recruited course in June to learn interview preparation techniques.

Chris then went on to enrol on a summer school English for Jobseekers and successfully achieved his qualification at Entry Level 3. He is now consolidating his English skills by attending a further Functional Skills English for Jobseekers course with the aim of achieving a Level 1 qualification.

Chris has an excellent attitude to learning as demonstrated by his first class attendance record and we wish him well in his journey towards finding a job.

William Grimes


William joined Adult Learning in January 2014 enrolling on  a Building Confidence through Drama course and a Developing ICT Skills course. William’s goal was to improve his confidence and employability skills.

Over the next four years William attended a range of courses including Working in Retail – Walled Garden based at Missenden Abbey. Through this course William joined the team of volunteers and now works as a part-time volunteer gardener in the Missenden’s Walled Garden.

He is currently attending a Getting Ready for Work and Volunteering course which enables learners to develop their digital and employability skills. William’s goal is to find a full time paid job and feels this course is helping him improve his ICT and maths skills.



Anthony met a Bucks Adult Learning Outreach Officer for information and advice at High Wycombe Jobcentreplus in March 2018 and subsequently enrolled on a Get Connected, Get Selected course at Millbrook Adult Learning Centre to develop the IT skills that he needs to help with his job search.
Anthony has since progressed to ICT Functional Skills this year and is on track to get a qualification in due course.
He is keen to continue his learning in another area and is about to start a Suited, Booted and Recruited course in order to practise his interview preparation skills and this will run alongside his IT course.



Cee-on was referred to Buckinghamshire Adult Learning by Jobcentre Plus. Although she had used computers before, she had nothing to prove her knowledge and needed to improve her maths from a D to a C in GCSE. She was encouraged to enrol on an ICT for Jobseekers and a Maths course. On completing her ICT course, she became a volunteer on our ESOL courses and subsequently was offered a role as an Adult Learning Assistant at one of our Adult Learning Centres. Her motto is “If you’re not learning something new every day about yourself, others or your job you are not living.”



Subhashini came to England from India in 2012 with just her husband and not knowing anyone else. She spent the next few years at home bringing up her son until he went to school. Once her son started school she found out about our Family Learning course Keep up with your Child and maths.

She soon began to learn how teaching and learning maths could be done in an enjoyable way with the help of her tutor. She liked the challenges and wanted to know more. She also enrolled onto Introduction to Functional Skills Maths, Support your child with Phonics and Reading, Keeping up with your child and English (writing), Returning to Earning and CV Writing courses.

Subhashini would like to work in a school as a Teaching Assistant and has started as a parent helpers at her son’s school, listening to readers or helping children learn tricky words. She has now found a job for Work Based Learning, similar to her job in India where she had technical knowledge and an academic background.



Colin saw our courses advertised in January 2018 at one of our community partners in the Health Service and enrolled on a Stress Management course, followed by a Confidence Building course in April.

These courses gave Colin the impetus to explore becoming a befriender with Bucks Mind and, in order to further his learning and gain skills to help him continue to move forward, Colin also enrolled on our Suited, Booted and Recruited course.

This course enables learners to review their CVs, develop covering letters, identify their transferable skills and recognise effective techniques for answering interview questions.

Colin was nominated for Adult Learner of the Year in June 2018 because of his positive attitude to learning and his excellent attendance record of 100% on all courses that he has attended.

He is currently attending three courses at Quarrendon Adult Learning Centre this year – Maths for Jobseekers, English for Jobseekers and Get Connected, Get Selected (a beginner IT course for jobseekers) and he has 100% attendance! Colin has also started volunteering on our ALDD classes.



After Alan’s mother passed away he felt lonely and wanted something positive to focus on to help with his grief. He enrolled on an ALDD independent living course and has been developing his cookery skills.

Alan now regularly cooks at home for both himself and his father and enjoys exploring healthy recipes. Alan has also enrolled on a Scrapbooking course and this is helping him to recall and enjoy all his wonderful memories of his mother.

Leia Oxley Photo


Leia studied for her English and maths GCSE from September 2017 with Buckinghamshire Adult Learning. When she was younger a car accident prevented Leia from studying for her GCSEs, so this year she felt it was time to be proactive and try to study for maths and English GCSE. At the same time, she also completed some First Aid training to allow her to take better care of her own children, and to improve her future employability. She also successfully completed a Makaton Foundation course as her four year old son has significant speech delay, as well as some hearing loss. Leia was awarded the title of Adult Learner of the Year in 2018 and was delighted with her GCSE results in August. Her ambition is to become an illustrator.