Learning for Work Award

Ashley Pickering

2017 Regional Winner

Ashley had a poor experience at school and left with no formal qualifications. Since attending his local lifelong learning centre, he has re-discovered his confidence and now works as a school bus driver.

At an early age, Ashley was diagnosed with dyslexia and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). With limited support for his additional needs at school, his confidence diminished and he became socially withdrawn.

Ashley started work as a bus driver for First Group two years ago. He also started to attend classes at Unite the Union Learning Centre onsite at his First Bus, Bramley, Leeds depot where he has completed a variety of qualifications, including maths and English Level 1 and ICT Levels 1 and 2. Ashley also successfully achieved his Passenger Carrying Vehicle apprenticeship to become a qualified bus driver. He was supported through his learning journey by fellow bus driver and Union Learning Representative, Barry Young.

Alongside these, Ashley completed a range of vocational short courses at the First Group Academy. He now works on the school bus run because his belief in himself means he can handle the more complex situations that arise from working with children.

Ashley’s colleagues, family and friends have noticed his increased confidence. He is more engaged in social situations, has become ambitious and is happiest when he has something to aim for.

“It took a great deal of courage for Ashley to return to education but with the support and commaraderie from his colleagues he has not looked back,” said his nominator, Dominic Goldrick, Learning Organiser at Unite the Union.

Ashley says “I feel more confident and assertive, and I am enjoying the challenges learning brings.”