Mother Who Beat Anxiety Embarks On Healthcare Career And Wins National Learning Award

Watch the incredible story of Laura and how she overcame anxiety to become a healthcare professional and win a national award 

An Introduction into Health and Social Care course run by the Health and Care Sector Work Academy at City College Peterborough at a local care home gave Laura Dunn-Green the opportunity she needed to overcome her anxiety, discover her passion for care, and embark on a new career.

Laura had her daughter when she was 16 years old and so missed out on continuing her education. When her daughter was nearly a year old, her father died which had a significant impact on Laura’s mental health. She suffered with severe and anxiety and depression and struggled to leave the house.

Laura had always been interested in care work, and with the support and encouragement of her coach at the Job Centre, she signed up to a work academy programme.

Given her anxiety, and having always been a shy and reserved person, Laura initially found it difficult to engage with the course. However, as it progressed, she found herself growing in confidence, enjoying the learning, and making new friends.

Returning to learning has transformed Laura’s life. She excelled in her course, and she is now in a job she loves as a healthcare assistant, at a local care home. Laura is keen to continue learning, and to build her career in the sector.

Laura has been announced as the national winner of the Festival of Learning 2020 New Directions award which is sponsored by the Skills and Education Group. Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, Festival of Learning is an annual campaign which aims both to celebrate the power of learning to transform lives, and to encourage more adults to take part.

Laura said: “I’ve become a much more confident person and I feel like I have a purpose. I felt like I had spent so many years being mum and dad that I forgot how to be me but the work academy helped me find myself and made me realise that I could make my daughter proud of me.”

Claire Mansfield, Health and Care Sector Work Academy tutor said: “Laura is flourishing at work and continues learning and upskilling to further her career towards a managerial role. Her determination shines through and she is an amazing role model for her young daughter.”

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said: “Laura’s story demonstrates the life-changing and profound effect that learning can have on mental health and wellbeing. Heading back into learning took great courage but has transformed Laura’s life and led her to a new job which she loves. We are delighted to present Laura with this award and wish her every success in the future.

“Festival of Learning awards celebrate the commitment and achievements of outstanding adult learners, tutors, projects and employers. These stories show us how transformative lifelong learning can be, not just for individuals but for families, communities and society. As we look to build back better after the pandemic, we need to redouble our efforts to provide access to lifelong learning opportunities for all.”


For more information, or to request an interview with Laura, City College Peterborough or Learning and Work Institute, contact Roisin Sheehy,,

Notes to editors:

Follow us on Twitter: @learnworkuk @festival_learn #festivaloflearning2020

  1. Festival of Learning ( is the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in England. The campaign, which has been running since 1992, is led by Learning and Work Institute and supported by the Department for Education.
  2. Through the stories of our award winners, Festival of Learning aims to celebrate and showcase the breadth of benefits learning can bring to individuals, businesses, communities and society, and inspire more people to learn.
  3. Festival of Learning has been recognising the achievements of individuals, tutors, projects and employers across England for more than 25 years. This year’s winners and finalists were selected from 250 nominations. All their stories can be read on our website
  4. Laura joins 11 other award winners for 2020 selected for various categories, including learning for health, learning for work, employer, tutor, project
  5. In 2020, the Employer and Learning for Work awards are sponsored by NOCN, the Tutor award is sponsored by the Education and Training Foundation, the Return to Learning award by City Lit, the New Directions award by the Skills and Education Group, and the Social Impact Award by the WEA.
  6. The Patron’s Award winner was selected by Learning and Work Institute’s patron, HRH the Princess Royal, and the President’s Award winner chosen by Learning and Work Institute’s president Nick Stuart CB.
  7. Learning and Work Institute ( is a policy, research and development organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. Our work is aimed at achieving positive change for individuals and communities to secure increased access to learning and skills and improved employability and career progression

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