From successful businessman to nurse

and become a qualified nurse. His dedication and commitment to learning is being recognised with a Regional Learning Works Award – sponsored by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) - as part of Adult Learners’ Week 9 – 15 May 2009.

Nicholas left school with no qualifications, but built up a successful business in which he was happy. However, as his wife became progressively ill, he had more contact with health professionals. Nicholas thought seriously about becoming a nurse and after discussing this with his wife, she gave him her wholehearted support.

After completing an 18-month Access to Nursing course he enrolled on a three-year Registered Nurse Diploma in Higher Education programme with the University of Wolverhampton to study Adult Nursing.

Studying at his wife’s bedside in the local hospital where he was spending 12-15 hours a day, he completed his assignments whilst sitting in intensive care, achieving high grades for all of them but – sadly – during this time, his wife died.

However, determined to fulfil his promise to his wife and himself to become a nurse, he completed the programme, gaining high marks together with the admiration of his peers, academic staff and mentors in his practice placements with whom he worked.

Nicholas said, “Once I qualified it was an extremely emotional time for myself, my family and friends. I couldn’t think of a better career. Learning has made me become a knowledgeable, skilled and competent nurse, to give high-quality care every time, making the patient feel comfortable.”

He continued, “I feel lucky I have chosen a profession that is so caring and one that makes me feel so proud… I know my wife would have been so proud of me for finishing the course.”

Lyn Swindlehurst, his nominator - and Subject Leader and Principal Lecturer at Wolverhampton University’s School of Health - said, “His commitment to keep his promise to his wife, motivated Nicholas to complete his nursing qualification with high grades and in the process earned him the admiration of his peers, his teachers and mentors in practice. I am sure Nicholas’ wife would have been very proud of his achievements.”

Further Education Minister Sion Simon said, “The Adult Learners’ Week Awards are a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of learners around the country. As the awards show, learning in all its many forms leads to a host of benefits not only for the individual learner, but also for their families and the wider community.”

He continued, “I hope the award winners will inspire others to rediscover learning. Whether your goal is to be able to help your children with their homework, realise a career aspiration or simply learn for pleasure, brushing up on existing skills or learning new ones can transform your life.”

Rachel Thomson, Senior Campaigns Officer at NIACE, said, “The outstanding adult learning we celebrate during Adult Learners’ Week shows the range and breadth of adults’ enthusiasms, skills and determination to succeed, often against the odds. Our winners are remarkable – for their energy, commitment and talent – and each and every one should be extremely proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Further information

For further information on Adult Learners’ Week please contact:  Ed Melia, NIACE Press Officer, on 0116 204 4248 or 07795 358 870.


Marie Koupparis, NIACE Assistant Press Officer on 0116 204 4279 or 07824 481 499 or email:

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