Award Winning Students

Award Winning Students Champion Adult Learners’ Week at KCC

Sophie Beal

As celebrations for Adult Learners’ Week 2012 gather pace, Kensington and Chelsea College had its very own adult learning success story to champion.

The college, which is backing the national event being held from May 12-18, was this week toasting two of their adult learners- Sophie Beale and Jo Miller – for their success in a high-profile millinery competition run by Grazia Magazine.

The competition to find Britain’s next great hat designer was judged by some of the most famous names in millinery including Philip Treacy and Stephen Jones.

Sophie, who studied HNC Millinery at the college last year, was crowned the winner for her elegant bird creation inspired by the British seaside. The talented 29-year-old from London, said: “Hearing I’d won almost gave me a heart attack! I really want to pursue a career in millinery and winning this is amazing!!”

Since completing her course Sophie has been working as a freelance milliner and was recently commissioned as a designer for a Chinese commercial millinery company.

Jo, 37, who is in the final months of her HNC Millinery course at the college earned the runner-up title. Formerly an Audience Development Officer for a Gallery in North Lincolnshire, Jo decided to pursue her interest in millinery with a summer school course that eventually led to a life changing decision to relocate to London to train as a professional milliner.

Speaking about returning to education Jo said: “The course at the college has been brilliant. I always wanted to study millinery but never pursued it when I was younger. I did a short summer course and that was it – I decided to go all the way. I gave up my job and here I am doing what I love. I found the return to education really exciting and would encourage those in the same situation to go for it. It’s not as scary as it seems, and can really change your life!”

The successful duo are among the many high achieving adult learners at Kensington and Chelsea College. The college is committed to providing a supportive learning environment for adults who are returning or new to education. As well as flexible courses that can be balanced with home and work life, the college also provides a nursery, advice on financial assistance, study skills and employment information. A team of advice and guidance staff are also on hand to help learners choose the right course to fit their skills, and aspirations.

As part of national Adult Learners’ Week 2012 the college is also hosting a series of free events and workshops where people can find out more about the college as well as learn something new:

  • Information Advice & Guidance: May 15th (KCC Wornington Centre) & 16th (Chelsea Centre). 4.30pm-7pm.
  • Construction Employment & Training Day: 17th May. 2pm-6pm. KCC Wornington Centre
  • Painting Workshop: 17th May. 2.30pm-5pm. The Gallery, Studio Building, Evesham Street, W11
  • Photography Exhibition: 19th May. 10am-12.30pm. Royal Albert Hall

For full details of the free events on offer visit: