Return to Learning

Stuart Ferriss

2019 National Winner

At school Stuart was told to sit at the back of the classroom because he couldn’t read or write. Aged 50, he began attending the dyslexia study skills class run by Oldham Lifelong Learning Service. Stuart’s return to learning has opened up new and better job opportunities, and had a profound impact on his life.

“All my life, I hadn’t been able to write. I became a skilled joiner (managing without writing skills) and then a school caretaker. I was doing the work of a site manager but needed literacy skills to apply for the site manager job.

I joined a dyslexia study skills class where I learnt in an interactive way. I looked forward to going every week. My tutor was exceptional and I met other learners in similar situations to me. I joined a functional skills English class and was motivated to gain entry level 2 qualifications.

During this time I was made redundant from the school caretaker job that I loved and felt very low. Attending English classes kept me going – I had something to look forward to. I’m still motivated to do even better at entry level 3 and beyond and I now have a new job as a caretaker in a community centre.

I’d hoped to achieve qualifications and take on more responsibility at work and in the voluntary sector. This I have done, but I have changed my attitude to life as well. I’m more positive and rather than let life happen to me, I make things happen. I’m no longer letting life pass me by.”

Janet McDowell, programme leader for maths and English at Oldham Lifelong Learning Service said, “Stuart has worked extremely hard, never giving up but facing this head on, to gain literacy skills and pass on his positive experiences to other people.”