Casey Bougourd from Chopwell in Newcastle Upon Tyne has been announced as the winner of Festival of Learning's Young Adult Learner Award 2018, for her exceptional achievement in adult learning. This award celebrates individuals aged 18-25 who, through learning, have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work. 


Casey, aged 19, started studying Childcare at Sixth Form, something she had always wanted to do, but quickly realised it wasn’t for her. Whilst attending an open day event at Derwentside College, Casey’s interest in Construction was ignited. She enrolled on to the Level 2 General Construction Operations course, where she was the only female learner.  


Describing her first experience of holding a trowel as ‘perfect’, Casey’s discipline and motivation to succeed impressed everyone around her. A few months later, she was selected for a work placement with Absolute Civil Engineering and became the first full-time learner of the year to be offered an apprenticeship.


Casey is now building sewers and drainage systems around the North East and aims to progress onto an Advanced level apprenticeship. Casey is also a Construction Course Ambassador, attending a variety of events and promoting women in construction.  


Speaking of her learning journey, Casey said “I’ve achieved my goal of gaining an apprenticeship, as well as making a little history and creating a path for other women to follow. I love my job and the opportunities it brings.”  


Ken Johnson, Assistant Curriculum Manager for Constriction at Derwentside College said “Casey stands out as an exceptional young woman, who has laid the foundations for a superstar career.” 


Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said:

“Casey’s story reminds us that our learning journeys and career paths do not need to be limited by course choices made at school. We hope Casey’s story inspires others to pursue their dreams too - especially other young women who aspire to work in roles that have been traditionally dominated by men.“

"Festival of Learning is all about inspirational stories of people like Casey who show that anyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us.”