CONEL’s Audrey Lakeman strongly believes that an education is the key to success. Born the third of ten children, her own schooling ceased at 12 years old as she was needed to help with family responsibilities. Decades later, Audrey returned to education to study English and maths at Entry Level 1.
“At my initial test it was clear to my teachers that I had strong potential but that I needed to work on my spelling, punctuation and grammar. I enrolled on Entry Level 1 for English and maths and progressed all the way to Entry 2 and 3 and then Levels 1 and 2,” said Audrey.
Audrey did not stop there. After doing well at English and Maths Functional Skills Level 2, she went on to take her English and Maths GCSEs. In her first attempt at English GCSE she achieved a Grade D. Determined to do better, she took the exam again the following year, achieving a B.
“When they told me I had passed English with a B, I jumped so high I was walking on air all day.” Audrey continued, “My teacher was wonderful and showed me videos and comic books on ‘Of Mice and Men’, which really helped me understand the characters.”
Audrey is delighted that she can now pass on the knowledge she gained to her 13 year old son as he prepares for his English GCSE.
Currently working for North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust as a Health Care worker, Audrey was one of 19 students from CONEL to land a job with the hospital last September.
The selection process took place at CONEL and Audrey did not take a back seat, scoring 10/10 in meeting the ‘Values and Principles’ of the hospital.
Audrey hadn’t had a job for 15 years and she gazed in fascination at her fellow bus passengers on her first day as she travelled to and from work. “They were checking their mobiles, looking out of the window some chatting and I suddenly felt part of society once again, a fully-fledged human being.”
Audrey works in the Acute Stroke Unit at the hospital. She says, “I meet so many people and I am learning about so much. I meet patients living with sickle cell and cancer as well as stroke - and I am gaining experience in how to work with care and compassion in such sensitive circumstances. I will also gain a Core Competence Certificate from the hospital to add to my portfolio of qualifications.”
Three of Audrey’s five children are living. Her daughter the eldest is a barrister, her son is at York University and her teenage son is at secondary school.
Audrey says, “Thanks to CONEL all I see now is a strong bright light at the end of the tunnel. I can pay my bills. I can buy my son things he wants. My whole life has changed for the better.”
AT CONEL, you can study English and Maths from entry level 1 right up to level 2 and a range of Health and Social Care courses from level 1 up to level 3.