Return to Learning

Alan Shaw

2018 Highly Commended

Alan had managed to get through life without the need to read and write. When he was made redundant at age 50, he returned to education to give himself a chance of re-gaining employment.

Alan left school with no qualifications and for many years was too embarrassed to admit his lack of English and maths skills to others. Instead, he avoided situations requiring communication, reading, IT or maths, and relied heavily on his family to get by.

Now unemployed, finding a job was becoming a challenge and Alan was increasingly frustrated. He found a City College Southampton leaflet in a supermarket and signed up to his first course.

Over four years Alan completed a variety of English, maths and IT courses and is looking to undertake a retail skills course to assist him getting back into employment. He has also learnt to read music and play the ukulele, and has performed at his local Christmas fayre.

Alan’s journey has inspired his father to attend IT classes and his friend to improve their English and maths.

Alan said “After a lifetime of embarrassment, I have a new lease of life. I love that I can now pick up a paper and read it with confidence. My family is so proud.”

Oonagh Potter, Alan’s English tutor at City College said “Alan’s outlook on life has completely changed and he has inspired others to follow in his footsteps.”