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Dyslexia no barrier for Kate

OVERCOMING BARRIERS: Kate Ajomiwe

KATE AJOMIWE never thought she would reach the stage where she could confidently deliver a presentation in public.

The Event and Entertainment Management student has dyslexia – a learning difficulty that can impact on a person’s ability to read, write and spell proficiently.

For Ajomiwe, who grew up in Nigeria, this meant that although she excelled at mental arithmetic and writing in school, she struggled when it came to reading and nerves always got the better of her.

But fast forward more than 20 years and the tenacious mother-of-two has been able to succeed in spite of these challenges. She was one of 15 students to receive the Horizon Employability Award recently from Greenwich School of Management (GSM) London.

The Award is GSM London’s flagship programme that aims to give students a competi- tive edge in the jobs market by providing them with professional and personal skills that demonstrate the breadth of students’ learning experiences.

The award feeds into the Government’s efforts to improve social mobility opportunities for people from disadvantaged communities.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

And in Ajomiwe’s case, her efforts to improve her skills resulted in her gaining a second accolade – a ‘Special Recognition Award’ presented on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, for her ambassadorial work within various student-facing and careers roles within GSM London.

Although Ajomiwe suspected she had dyslexia as she got older, it was never something she formally diagnosed until she started studying at the Greenwich-based business degree provider in 2015.

She’d had a childhood passion for events management but instead chose to follow her father’s wish for her to become a lawyer and in the course of doing so found ways to manage her dyslexia.

Examples included using colours to highlight words so that she could understand them better, or avoiding situations where she would have to read in front of an audience.

But the desire to get into events management was strong and years after moving to France from Nigeria and working as an English teacher there, she made the move to the UK with her husband and children.

“Shortly after I arrived there, a friend of mine had told me about GSM London and how I could go back to school. I had not been in a formal learning setting for over 20 years and things had changed a lot. I was used to handwriting my assignments, but now everything is done online,” she said.

It was while she was at GSM London in 2015 that she was given some formal support for her dyslexia.

“Because of my dyslexia, I did not enjoy presenting in front of people. But one day, I realised that in the long run, this would not help me.

"I have since realised that working as part of a team allows me to learn from other people, can boost my confidence and made me realise that I am an important person who can make positive contributions.”

Ajomiwe, who graduates in 2018, continued:

“The experience has boosted my confidence, helped with my academic skills, and made me realise that I have leadership qualities. I realise that if I make a mistake, it is not a big deal – I should just carry on.”

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