A WOMAN from Minehead has been picked to win a prestigious award for her remarkable learning achievements.

Olivia Watkins, 22-years-old, has won the Learning Life Skills Individual Award as part of Adult Learners' Week (June 14-20).

Having Down's syndrome and associated significant communication difficulties meant Olivia felt vulnerable in the community. But she was keen to live an independent life and secure employment.

Her love of cooking led her to complete NVQ Level 1 qualifications in food preparation and food safety.

As well as improving her literacy, numeracy, and IT skills with City and Guilds qualifications, she has also completed courses to improve her speech.

With her new skills and increased confidence, Olivia has secured two jobs which she thoroughly enjoys.

She has a paid part-time job as a kitchen assistant at the University of the West of England and volunteers in a local primary school kitchen.

Olivia insists on travelling to and from work, independently by catching the bus.

She is now happily settled in a housing association flat which she has decorated and furnished to make her own.

Anne White, quality manager at Foxes Academy and Olivia's nominator said: “Olivia has had an incredible learning journey and has shown great focus and tenacity, which is testament to her determination to succeed and be the best that she can.”

Olivia added: “I wanted to go to Foxes Academy to learn how to look after myself and learn skills to help me get a job.”

Olivia will receive her award today (June 5) at the South West regional awards ceremony at Weston Pier in Weston-Super-Mare.