‘Change your Story too’, that’s the message from two Carmarthenshire women who have seen big changes in their careers since undertaking a Chwarae Teg run programme, which aims to help women fulfill their true potential in the workplace.

This Adult Learners’ Week, 17-23 June, Joanne Yeo and Ceri Williams, both from Llanelli, are championing the benefits of adult education and encouraging others to take up opportunities.

Having completed Chwarae Teg’s Agile Nation2 Career Development Programme, which both credit with kick-starting new chapters in their lives, they and are now sharing their stories to persuade others to do the same.

Chwarae Teg is also urging women to find out more by signing up for a free webinar about the programme at www.chwaraeteg.com/timeforyou-webinar/, which will run from 1.15pm on Thursday 20 June.

The programme is fully funded by the European Social Fund and Welsh Government and includes the completion of an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualification.

Joanne has dyslexia and dyspraxia so has had lots of challenges in her life, but despite this, she returned to education in 2015 after over 20 years. She completed a BA in Social Studies, is now on course for an Equality and Diversity MA, and is also on the Chwarae Teg programme as another way to advance her skills set. Joanne is also an active and recognised volunteer, who has brought over £30,000 in funding into her community, receiving several awards including the WCVA All Wales Volunteer of the Year. She is also now a finalist in the Learner category at Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire 2019 awards.

Joanne said: “I’d say if I can do it then anyone can. My disabilities are not a barrier as I push myself constantly to achieve; I’m not dyslexic, I have dyslexia, my learning difficulties do not define who I am. Going back to learning was the best thing I ever did and it changed me as a person. I’m a great advocate for women to return to education, encouraging and supporting them to find the courage to reach their goals. I am a Girl Guiding Brown Owl as well as the district commissioner for Llanelli town, and have volunteered in many other capacities for years including organising this year’s Llanelli Pride, but I recognise now more than ever the importance of role models, particularly to women and girls. I’d urge all out there to grasp opportunities to learn and never look back.”

Ceri had worked at a leading arts venue for more than 12 years but lost her professional confidence after having a baby – a familiar pattern for many women. Completing the career development programme with Chwarae Teg in autumn 2018 helped her to regain her confidence and make positive changes for herself and her family. She has now secured an exciting new role as Marketing and Communications Manager at a national theatre company, based locally.

Ceri said: “The programme changed my life and got me where I want to be. When I returned to work after having my daughter, I’d lost my professional confidence and self-belief. It was a difficult time but, as soon as I arrived at the Chwarae Teg office, I felt I was part of a new community. The programme and staff encouraged me to make time for myself, to develop professionally, to get networking and to understand my strengths. This support has meant so much to me and I’d recommend the programme to anybody.” 

Emma Richards, Women’s Programme Lead at Chwarae Teg, said: “We are hugely proud of the achievements of all the women who have taken part in our programme over the years. They have not only gained key leadership skills valued by employers but also developed the confidence and motivation to achieve and prosper in the workplace. This Adult Learners’ Week we wanted to highlight some of our shining stars and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Joanne and Ceri really demonstrate what can be achieved and have become real role models for many.

“To date thousands of women in Wales have taken part in our free programme and secured pay rises totalling over £1.6million, so I’d definitely urge other women to sign up for our webinar and find out more.”

Women interested in the webinar can sign up at www.chwaraeteg.com/timeforyou-webinar/  or get more information about the free career development programme atwww.agilenation2.org.uk/for-women.

Further details regarding the Womenspire Awards are available atwww.chwaraeteg/womenspire

For more information on Adult Learners’ Week campaign visit:www.adultlearnersweek.wales

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