Learning award for Norwich teenage mum

A teenage mum from Norwich has been named the learner of the year at a ceremony celebrating the achievements of about 100 young people in Norfolk.

Nineteen-year-old Sherry Elsey was among the teenagers to take part in the Step On Induction Programme – a one or two-week course aimed at giving young people not in employment, education or training a chance to try different areas of work.

Following on from the initial course, Sherry is now pursuing a foundation learning programme specialising in hairdressing at the JO Academy – and at a ceremony at the Forum on Monday she won the outstanding foundation learner prize for hairdressing as well as being crowned the outstanding foundation learner of the year. Sherry said she was really pleased to win the awards and that it was really nice that her hard work had been recognised.

'I've always wanted to be a hairdresser, although with kids I thought it would be hard coming back to learning,' said Sherry, from the Mile Cross area.

'Step On helped me realise what training was available and more importantly what skills I needed for my career.

'I enjoyed all the tasters and found it really fun, and my confidence is building up.'

Sherry – who has two children, Tyrhys, nearly two, and Chanelle, who will be one on Friday – hopes to have her own mobile hairdressing business.

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The free Step On Induction Programme is run by Norfolk County Council's adult education services in partnership with Norwich City Community Sports Foundation and Blue Cat Initiative.

About 100 young people have completed the short programme in the past six months, and about 80 of them have gone on to do the 30-week vocational foundation learning programme which also incorporates maths, English and ICT.

All of their achievements were recognised at the ceremony on Monday, with each young person receiving a certificate for completing the Step On programme.

The Step-On award went to Joe Hornagold, 16, from Norwich.

The students who won outstanding prizes in their foundation learning subject areas were: IT – Alex Grinstead, 16, Norwich; Music – Robbie Newman, 17, Norwich; Construction – Aron Johns, 17, Norwich; Childcare – Alexandra Brown, 18, Thorpe St Andrew; Motor Vehicle Engineering – Jasmin Beeching, 16, Alby; Countryside Skills – Shai Ashkenazi, 18, Cromer.

For more information call Norfolk County Council's adult education services on 0344 800 8002 and ask for 16-18 Learner Services.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@ archant.co.uk