An inspirational learner at Coleg Sir Gâr who faced a life-threatening illness after taking the plunge to return to education, has been named Carmarthenshire Adult Learner of the Year.

Claire Williams’ determination has seen her graduate with a degree in social care studies despite battling with cancer, which she discovered in her second year of college.

Claire, from Ammanford, continued with her studies while undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

She submitted all her work and was awarded a foundation degree in social care studies before progressing to a full degree.

Lecturer Karen James described Claire as “the glue that binds the group”.

“Claire went back to studying after many years out of education,” said Karen. “When she first came to us her confidence and self-esteem were very low but her self-belief began to grow.”

Being a single mum of two dealing with a relationship breakdown, Claire faced some tough times, but during her course, she volunteered for Home Start and the Probation Service where her generosity and attitude towards other people shone.

As a result, she was asked to volunteer working with prison offenders.

“Claire has a heart of gold,” said Karen.

“No matter what life throws at her, she is always smiling and always supporting those around her and I am truly honoured to be part of her journey.”

Meanwhile, Karen was nominated for a NIACE Cymru Inspire! tutor’s award this year.

“I have the privilege of making a small impact on the journey of others who have at times, been disillusioned by the education system,” she said.

“Often those I teach have been out of education for so many years and have little or no confidence in their abilities. My main responsibility is to show them they can do it and to believe in themselves.”