Aspiration Awards 2024: Learner of the Year highly commended (adult) – Andree Iland, Professional Training Solutions | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards 2024: Learner of the Year highly commended (adult) - Andree Iland, Professional Training Solutions 


The Learner of the Year category recognises individuals who are developing themselves through vocational qualifications from NCFE and making positive improvements to their lives. This year’s highly commended winner is Andree Iland from Professional Training Solutions.

A pilot project with a purpose 

Andree Iland, a support worker for the Royal Association of Deaf People (RAD), has been highly commended for NCFE's Learner of the Year (Adult) Award. This recognition celebrates Andree's exceptional commitment to her professional development and her passion for serving the deaf community. 

Andree's journey began with a groundbreaking pilot project by Professional Training Solutions. This initiative aimed to deliver the Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care to deaf carers who support deaf individuals in their homes, using sign language (BSL) as the primary communication method.  

The project was delivered by partnering with RAD, a national deaf charity supporting the deaf community, to train their support workers and carers (the majority of whom are also deaf). Andree, who is deaf with BSL as her first language, became one of the first participants in this innovative program.  

A passion to make a difference 

Always going above and beyond, Andree wants to make a difference and provide exceptional care within the deaf community. Despite limited prior training, Andree’s dedication and motivation were evident from the very beginning of the course. Throughout the qualification, Andree consistently submitted assignments on time, actively participated in workshops, and readily shared her experiences to improve the learning experience to better meet the needs of future deaf learners.  

Since being on the course, Andree has been more vocal within her team around shared learning and thinking about different ways of approaching subjects with clients. Andree has worked with her peers to bring together ideas to try out in a safe and supported manner, and always ensures that RAD’s client’s needs are met by advocating on their behalf.  

Jackie Denyer, Director of Professional Training Solutions, said: “Andree has given 100% commitment to this qualification and her work. Being deaf herself, we’ve witnessed she has a natural empathy and understanding of her client’s needs. 

“Andree is on target to achieve by the end of this year, has always submitted her assignments on time and is so engaged and enthusiastic – a real pleasure to teach, and we can see by her practice that she is implementing everything she is learning. Andree has so much potential to progress in this sector, and is already looking to progress her career opportunities within RAD.  

“Throughout the course, Andree has mentored and supported her colleagues during classes and with peer-to-peer support. We’ve never seen such an enthusiastic group who want to learn and provide better care and support to the deaf community. Andree’s learning has provided her with the tools and resources to provide better care and support to the people she cares for. Andree has been able to put her learning into practice and sees the positive impact on quality of life.” 

An impressive ambassador  

Daniel Clements, Director of Independent Living, Support Services and Programmes at RAD, said: “By training people such as Andree, we believe we offer outstanding care and support to the deaf community, provided by deaf people. We want to offer every member of our staff the opportunity to excel in what they do and offer everyone a career pathway. And for our deaf service users, we want them to have access to the best carers, who can speak to them in their first language, to and for the carers to understand the needs of deaf people.  

“Too often we see untrained carers working with deaf people who are still neglected and isolated because of the lack of communication and understanding. Meaning those clients do not understand what good care is – until now with our starting point of showcasing what good quality care looks like for deaf people. We’re delighted to be able to give our amazing staff like Andree these opportunities with our partner Professional Training Solutions.” 

A testament to lifelong learning 

Andree said: “My manager encouraged me to do the NCFE qualification to support my role at work as a support worker for deaf people. Through my work, the role I undertake within my organisation is very specialist, and this course has been tailored whereby with my colleagues we can apply examples from our sector and explore the challenges we face.  

“I’m so glad I enrolled in this course, as a deaf person the course has been inclusive, and the tutors really understand deaf culture and awareness. I feel really proud for working towards achieving my qualification, as I enjoy supporting deaf people and giving back. 

“I am at the later stage of my career – but it feels great to continue to achieve things. This course has given me the tools and resources to empower me to continue to make a difference in my role as a support worker – however big or small.” 

Congratulations Andree! To read more inspirational stories from this year's award winners, visit our Aspiration Awards 2024 page.   

Andree is an ambassador not only for RAD and deaf carers but for the deaf community as a whole. Her empathy, compassion, and dedication are exemplary for all learners.

Jackie Denyer, Director, Professional Training Solutions