Learner stories: "Doing something that I'm really passionate about"
Juwairia Junaid was named Learner of the Year at NCFE’s Aspiration Awards in 2022 – recognising individuals who are developing themselves through vocational qualifications and making positive improvements to their lives.
As Juwairia is fully blind, she manages an array of different machinery, technology and software to give her access to her studies, as well as the help of a learning assistant to support her with moving around the classroom and college building.
Described by her tutors as a “truly outstanding learner”, Juwairia arrives early for every session and her attitude to learning, enthusiasm and engagement within the lessons inspires all those around her. We caught up with her to learn more about her story and to tell her she’d won the award.
As someone who is fully blind, what are some of the challenges you face?
“We always have to put in like 10 times more effort than anyone else. I think people don't see it, and I think that's the main struggle. I was born fully blind, and it's always been like that.
“People find this really weird when I say this, but some of the stuff I do right now, I don't think I'd actually be doing if it wasn't for me being blind.”
What are you studying and what are your career aspirations?
“I study health and social care here at Leeds City College. I’m actually doing something that I'm really passionate about and something that I really like, and it's something that I've wanted to do for quite some time now.
“There is a lot that I've been through in my life before that, and there's stuff that I still have to deal with regularly. There have been a lot of people that have been there for me when I've been going through things, and I think I just want to do the same for others.
“If we're talking career-wise, I want to do counselling – but it's not just that. I want to work with people with mental health issues and I want to do something that's known as cognitive behavioural therapy. So, it's like talking therapy.”
Away from college, you also co-host a radio show where you discuss the experiences of people with disabilities. Why is that important to you?
“So, it's called The Disabled Table. It's not just me, it's also got my friend Harry as well. We just talk about disabled stories and experiences and we try to make it more humour than serious.
“If I do win [Learner of the Year] it will be really good for the whole disability community as well, because it shows how hard that we have to work sometimes.”
Congratulations Juwairia, you’ve been named Learner of the Year! How does it feel?
“All I can just really say is thanks! To everyone that's helped me throughout all the years; all my teachers, all my friends that have been there since day one – even those who have come into my life recently.”
Watch the full video of Juwairia and see the moment she’s told about her success below. Or, you can learn more about our vast health and social care qualification offering and the work we're doing in these areas.
Name: Juwairia Junaid
Qualification: Level 2 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care
Centre: Leeds City College
Juwairia (right) using technology to study
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