2 July 2019

Attending family learning courses at her children’s school gave Vicky Seagars, 28, the boost she needed.

A mum from Kent has won a national learning award after overcoming severe anxiety to return to learning and train towards becoming a midwife. Vicky Seagars has won the Festival of Learning 2019 New Directions award, sponsored by Skills and Education Group.

Vicky was a stay at home mum who lived with severe anxiety, making it difficult for her to leave the house. She decided it was time to make a change and create something positive in her family’s lives. With support from the family liaison officer at Canterbury Road Primary School, she started attending family learning courses run by Kent Adult Education with her husband and children.

The courses gave Vicky the motivation she needed to attend counselling, and with her anxiety under control she felt the time was finally right to pursue her dream of becoming a midwife. Vicky successfully applied to study a midwifery degree at Canterbury Christchurch University and she continues to attend family learning courses at the school with her husband and children.

Vicky has inspired other family members to start learning again and is a source of support and encouragement to other parents at her children’s school.

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

Vicky said, “I’m now in my second year of midwifery training and my anxiety rarely affects my life anymore. My children say how proud they are of me for persevering and being brave enough to do something I’ve always wanted to do. They’ve become more enthusiastic about their own learning and my sister and my husband now attend courses through the school too.”

Caroline Grover, curriculum leader at Kent Adult Education said, “Our family learning courses give parents the opportunity to return to education within a supportive environment, learning not only how to support their children’s learning, but also to improve their own and their families’ futures. Vicky has grabbed this opportunity and soared to new heights! Congratulations to a truly inspirational mum!” 

Stephen Evans, chief executive, Learning and Work Institute said, “Through attending the courses at her children’s school, Vicky has established a culture of learning within her own family, demonstrating to her children the powerful impacts of learning at any age. We are delighted to give this award to Vicky and wish her every success in her degree and becoming a fully qualified midwife.

Festival of Learning is all about the inspirational stories of people like Vicky, which show that everyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try so if you’ve been inspired by Vicky’s story, and if you want to find out how learning could benefit you, get in touch your local college, community learning provider or the National Careers Service.