We were delighted with all the entries that we received for our 2020 Love to Learn competition and found it extremely difficult to choose a winner.

We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to send in their story about why they loved to learn.

After much deliberation, we choose Halyma's blog as the winner. Her inspirational entry showcased how despite cultural norms and her parent's mindset being against her, she was able to overcome adversity, challenge the status quo and unleash her love to learn.

Love to Learn - Halyma's Story

From a young age I loved to learn. Seen as the nerdy one in class and not cool enough, I ended up being in top set classes without friends which felt lonely at times, however I was always proud to be in top set classes.

Coming from a traditional Bengali family, girls progressing in education wasn’t always seen as a positive. When studying for G.S.C.E’s I was told “What’s the point, stop wasting time, they won’t come in use as your future is only to get married and cook.”

Despite the challenges faced, I still went on to do well and get A’s and B’s in my G.C.S.E.

Challenging culture

Having successfully achieved great grades, I wanted to go to college, however once again my family didn’t approve of this, as it wasn’t the traditional route for girls - their priority was to learn how to manage a household. I still persisted and started college studying Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Maths, as I wanted to go to University to study medicine. After one term, I was pulled out by family and taken to Bangladesh.

I was told it would only be one week, but ended up staying three months. After that, it wasn’t possible to continue with College - I was absolutely gutted. I then started working in telesales, with my competitive nature meaning that I always did well and was recognised for being great at my job.

I went on to learn about coaching, becoming a coach myself, and progressed to be a Team Manager. Whilst in the role, whenever learning opportunities were offered I was always the first to put my hand up.

A love of education

I completed my NVQ Level 3 in Leadership and soon became a competent manager,  but I always wanted to ensure that I was good at what I did, so I would go along and learn how to be the best at my role, whether that was taking part in Myer’s Briggs training to understand team working, or taking an effective organisation and planning course to help with prioritising my workload.

My love for education landed me in a new role in 2017 as a Learning and Development (L&D) Manager. The new role was working for a council and was something I wasn’t previously familiar with. To increase my own knowledge, I joined a council training for effective governance course and also took part in an understanding financial Information workshop. This provided classroom based training but also required assignment completion too.

Having been out of formal education for many moons, it felt strange to go back to assignment writing, but this was only a preview of what was to come. Not long in to the role, I came across a CIPD qualification in L&D which I started. This was a fantastic opportunity and I absolutely loved being back in education mode completing e-learning courses, attending classroom sessions and completing assignments.

Learning for life

Although the assignments were lengthy, just researching and learning gave me a huge amount of satisfaction. My Love for learning doesn’t stop at just work either – when looking for a partner, I feel the need to complete Myer’s Briggs, just to understand their personality.

Having recently become a Mum too, I felt it would be helpful to have as much of a guide as possible, leading me to complete a diploma in Child Psychology!

I also completed a six year part-time course in Islamic Sciences and graduated in 2018, something which brought a lot of spiritual change in to my life. Despite growing up in a family where education for girls wasn’t approved, through persisting, I’ve challenged the status quo and changed the mind-sets of my family, who now can see the benefits of education.

Learning never stops - well at least for me it doesn’t.

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