Funding an Adult Learner’s Studies at Fashion Enter

As an adult learner, ​​Mamello Atisa has faced challenges. Despite having had a wide variety of work and learning experiences—including training as a counsellor, working as a teacher in media and serving as a trainer at Citizens Advice—learning as an adult was a difficult transition. 

Mamello has also had to overcome significant barriers in her career. For years, she battled a long-term illness and was signed off work for six months as a result. Shortly after returning to work, she was made redundant, which caused real financial difficulties. 

However, when COVID-19 struck, Mamello saw the lockdowns as an opportunity to learn new skills, so she looked for courses to take during this time. Passionate about the fashion industry, she restarted her studies with a Level 1 Patterns qualification and then a Level 2 in Stitching qualifications, working long hours and reading up on fashion. Completing each course built Mamello’s confidence and laid a foundation for her to go further. To support her studies, she applied for a £1,000 Learner Grant from the Skills and Education Group Foundation. 

At a time when Mamello was wilting with questions and doubts, receiving the grant was a huge vote of confidence. Financially speaking, it helped her to purchase materials and computer software to help improve her skills, and it helped to cover costs for workshops and seminars to continue to develop her knowledge. 

Mamello is now taking a Level 2 Patterns qualification, and plans to keep participating in workshops to consolidate her skills and learn new techniques to transform clothing into something new. With a passion for sustainable and socially engaged fashion, she believes that fashion has the ability to communicate about social issues. She thinks most people find expression through the clothes they wear, and that clothing is a universal language. It’s also something that has helped her to overcome cultural, social and economic barriers. In the long term, it’s her dream to create her own fashion collection, upcycling garments and creating accessories that complement people’s everyday lives. 

The Skills and Education Foundation Learner Grant has not only supported Mamello’s love of learning and her advancement in education, it has led to other opportunities as well. In 2022, she spoke at the Skills and Education Group Conference, and was a finalist in the Learner of the Year category at the FAB Awards 2022 hosted by the Federation of Awarding Bodies. 

Mamello has a passion for education, and it has opened doors to creating safety and advancing in life. When she thinks about her commitment to study, two things stand out: how it contributes to a better life and the opportunities it provides to look after herself and support her family, if the need were to arise. 

Education is the gift of finding the tools to deal with change, and the opportunities will continue to spur me to keep moving forward and achieving more than I ever imagined!

— ​​Mamello Atisa

Find out more about our Learner Grants here.