The Head of Adult Education Wolverhampton was among the special guests at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace last week.
Joanne Keatley was nominated to receive an invitation to the event by HOLEX, a national network for over 140 adult and community learning providers across England in recognition of her services to education.
She said: "I was thrilled to be nominated, and because this happened before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, my excitement lasted for several years before the Garden Party was finally able to go ahead.
"I took my eldest son, Joab with me, and it was special to share the day with him. The day was lovely, despite the absolutely appalling, very British, weather. Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess Anne spent hours with guests who were lined up for a glimpse, a hand shake or, even better, a chat."
Joanne qualified as a teacher in 1991, and enjoyed teaching hospitality and catering in colleges for nearly a decade. Her passion for adult education started in a small voluntary sector organisation before progressing through various layers of management to vice principal and principal roles.
She said: "I joined Adult Education Wolverhampton almost four years ago and have loved working for the service ever since. It may be a cliché, but I continue to be inspired by the dedicated teachers and staff around me and the many stories of how adult education has given people a second chance and helped them on a positive journey."
Adult Education was rated Good by Ofsted at its last inspection with an Outstanding grade for its Personal Development. Student surveys reveal very high levels of satisfaction especially for teaching and support to students.
Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, said: “Adult Education Wolverhampton has a crucial role to play in helping local residents get back into the job market, in supporting better mental and physical well-being, and building confidence to contribute to the community through volunteering. The service has gone from strength to strength under Joanne Keatley’s leadership and I am pleased that she was recognised for services to education by being invited to a Royal Garden Party.”
Adult Education Wolverhampton offers hundreds of courses, some designed to help people into work, become self-employed or move on in work, while others offer opportunities for people to improve their mental health and general well-being, improve their confidence on-line, become a volunteer, help their children with school work or be more active in their community.