A student from Wolverhampton who was left partially paralysed as a result of an industrial accident has scooped a prestigious award for her outstanding achievement in adult learning.

Type=image;ImageID=10872;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Sarah Allington with her work;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=10873;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Sarah Allington with her work;TitleClass=strong;

Sarah Allington, 26, won the Central England Learning for Work award at this year's Festival of Learning.

Organised by the Learning & Work Institute, the Festival showcases and celebrates the impact that learning can have on individuals, families, communities and employers.

Sarah suffered a life changing injury following an industrial accident in 2011, including partial paralysis in her left leg and weakness and sensation issues in her left arm and hand.

The accident left her in constant pain and she had to leave her job. Looking for something creative to help with her recovery, she joined a silver jewellery making class run by Adult Education Wolverhampton.

Since then, Sarah has developed the skills and confidence to start up her own successful creative business, Sarah Ellen Designs, producing handmade silver jewellery and greetings cards.

She said: "Without the support of Adult Education Wolverhampton, it's unlikely I would be where I am or who I am today."

Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "This story demonstrates the role Adult Education Wolverhampton can have on helping turn someone's life around - in Sarah's case from the lows of having to leave work because of her accident to the highs of launching her own successful business."

Sarah was one of 28 inspirational regional and national winners selected for a range of awards across the four categories - including awards for individual learners, employers, innovative projects and inspirational tutors.

Stephen Evans, CEO of Learning & Work Institute, said: "Every year we receive hundreds of inspirational stories about adults who have achieved incredible things as a result of them returning to learning.

"Sarah's story encompasses what the Festival of Learning is all about - people achieving their learning and career ambitions through determination, passion and hard work and then using this to inspire others."

The Festival of Learning is now in its 25th year and celebrates lifelong learning and the benefits it has on people, society and the economy. Inspirational individuals, tutors, projects and employers across the UK were given awards as part of the Festival - showcasing the impact of learning on their lives and the lives of others.

The Festival of Learning is part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) which focuses on improving employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential.

Sarah will be formally presented with a certificate for her award, along with four other nominees, at an event at Adult Education Wolverhampton on Tuesday 1 November which will be attended by the Mayor of Wolverhampton.

  • released: Thursday 6 October, 2016