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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Double delight

STUDENTS from Lakes College picked up their awards last month in recognition of their hard work and achievement.

But among those hundreds of students were two with a special story of hard work, determination and perseverance – in a bid to overcome significant obstacles in their lives.

RONALD ROSWELL, 51, and CHRIS BRIGHT, 23, picked up special achievement awards at the ceremony nominated by their tutors. The awards are recognition of difficult barriers that students have had to overcome to achieve their qualifications.

Ronald, from Workington, won the award for achievement in an NVQ level 2 plumbing course. Moving to Workington from Manchester around eight years ago, he decided to make a change in his career and train in plumbing.

He said: “I started Lakes College in 2008 on a Level 1 plumbing course and quickly progressed onto the Level 2 a year later.

“Starting the training was ultimately a way for me to one day work for myself and it certainly helped that I thoroughly enjoyed the training on the course. At first I was surprised at how much work was involved – it’s not just about fitting pipes and plumbing things in, you have to know every last detail from fitting measurements to pipe sizes.

“The Level 1 was more of a preparatory course and focussed a lot on the likes of health and safety, but the level was a much bigger step up. It was all very in-depth and at times it was hard work because I became a carer for my partner who had to have an operation on her knees. I just loved going into college, though. It has a fantastic atmosphere and I enjoyed the social aspect to learning. And, of course, the tutors were a fantastic support. But my hard work was recognised when I received an endeavour award during the Level 2 course.”

It was his hard work and total commitment that won him the special achievement award at this year’s awards ceremony. His tutors said his dedication to succeed on the course and his positive attitude made him the perfect candidate for nomination.

Ronald said winning the special award was the last thing he expected. “I had no idea, I didn’t expect to pick up anything so I was shocked but over the moon when I found out. I couldn’t have been happier.”

Being the oldest on the course did not faze Ronald and he even said he found it amusing that the course tutor was younger than him.

For Ronald, a job in the plumbing industry is his future goal but for now, the student is hoping to find a work placement with a local firm where he can develop his skills even further.

Chris Bright, from Whitehaven, won the special achievement award for his diploma in work skills.

The former Whitehaven School student has spent the last seven years at Lakes College training and learning.

During secondary school he contracted meningitis and needed extra support with his studies so went to Lakes College as part of the Pathways programme to up his skills in English and maths.

Taking about his diploma in works skills, Chris said: “The course was aimed at getting people used to the workplace with the likes of interviewing skills.

“The course ran for two years and was a great experience. I just enjoy coming to Lakes College – the support is excellent from the tutors. I have often had one-to-one support which is not something many students can say they have had.”

According to Chris’ tutors he picked up the special award at last month’s ceremony because of his achievement on the course. His determination to overcome epilepsy, a condition he was left with as a result of suffering meningitis, was also a factor in him winning the award.

Chris’ award winning abilities have also seen him pick up titles in a sports course he undertook while studying at the college. “I picked up a distinction and a special achievement award at the end of that course as well,” he said.

“The awards and courses have all boosted my confidence unbelievably, so much so that I even started mentoring other students.

“I love the aspect of coming to college, I have made lots of friends here and really pushed my education forward to somewhere I wouldn’t have had the chance to if I had not come here.

“I am a hard worker so I think that is something the tutors saw in me to nominate me for the award.

“I didn’t give up on myself and other people shouldn’t either. Although I suffer from epilepsy I haven’t let my condition get in the way of my education.”

Chris is now on an NVQ Level 1 art and design course and hopes he will one day be a sports photographer.

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