Valerie Betts, clinical manager of Newton House, in Grantham, has been awarded first prize at the East Midlands National Training Awards.
She nominated herself for the awards, focusing on her achievements over the last ten years.
To enter, Val wrote about her achievements and experiences. This impressed judges who invited her back for an interview. She was later declared East Midlands winner.
At the East Midlands conference centre in Nottingham, Val was presented with a trophy.
Valerie began training as a teacher after being dismissed as a nurse and home manager.
During her course, she worked part time in a nursing home and took counselling classes at weekends, while caring for her family which she describes as a balancing act.
After completing the teaching course, she went on to study for a Certificate in Education.
She then took up the role of deputy manager at Newton House and has now become clinical manager.
Valerie told People Watch: "It might be 30 years late, but at last I've got the career I dreamed of.
"Since landing my dream job I have seen how important it is to spread the message of learning.
"I am quite proud of what I have achieved so late in life and feel validated by being a National Training Award finalist."
Valerie has enjoyed studying so much that has not stopped yet – she is currently working towards a degree in nursing studies.