22nd September 2016
Congratulations to former York College student Emily Hicks on winning the Patron’s Award at the national Festival of Learning Awards. Emily was selected to be the recipient of this very special award by HRH The Princess Royal.
Emily’s story is one of inspiring selflessness, determination and resolve. From the age of 11 she was the main carer for her mother, who has bi-polar, and throughout her teenage years her eyes were opened to the issues faced within the social care system. Emily, who has dyslexia, left school with a few GCSEs, whilst continuing to be a full-time carer. At York College she achieved Level 1 and 2 qualifications in Childcare and after working for a few years to help her family financially, she returned to learning, gaining qualifications in maths and English. In 2010 she enrolled on the Access to Social Work diploma at York College. Studying full-time, she continued to care for her mother she also found time to volunteer with young carers, running weekly sessions.
Emily achieved her dream of being accepted onto an undergraduate social care degree, graduating with honours from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2014. During her studies she commuted daily and worked as a personal care assistant. Her determination to succeed is a lesson to all, as now Emily has secured a job as an activity co-ordinator at York Carers Centre.
Emily, now aged 26, says: “I am so proud to receive this award and I hope it inspires more people to keep striving for something if they really want it, and to believe in themselves. I’m not done yet; I want to keep learning and widening my skills and knowledge. Social care is facing a huge problem and I would love to think that I can make a difference to young carers and improve other's lives.”
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the Learning and Work Institute, which leads the Festival of Learning Awards, said: “Emily’s is a powerful and inspirational story. She demonstrates the power that learning has to transform lives and enable people to reach their potential and achieve their ambitions. She is a truly remarkable person and a worthy winner of this special award. Emily has combined caring responsibilities with learning, overcoming every challenge she has faced.”