Outstanding Individual Learner Award

James Smith

2016 National Winner

James Smith, known as Jimmy, returned to learning after being inspired to pursue a career as a paramedic following assistance he gave at the scene of a serious medical emergency. Having left school with no qualifications, he is now on the cusp of starting a degree.

Following the incident, market-trader Jimmy realised that he would need to return to learning to get the skills needed to work in the emergency services. He had low expectations, however Jimmy found the experience very different from what he was expecting. I was bowled over! I found the tutors engaging and encouraging and developed an appreciation for Shakespeare. I’ve even enjoyed the maths… a bit.”

The learning James undertook with Birmingham Adult Education Service (BAES) helped him improve his confidence as well as his skills and, when he applied for a role of non-emergency patient transport driver at West Midlands Ambulance Service, he was happy to sit and pass their written entry exams.

Jimmy’s enthusiasm has spread to other learners, many of whom he now regards as lifelong friends, and his thought-provoking questions have inspired his classes. His score of 89 out of 90 in his GCSE English has put him on course for an A* making his two daughters, who recently inspired him by completing their own degrees, proud.

He has now enrolled on an access to science course at Halesowen College and hopes to start a Paramedic Science degree next year.