When Jim was asked a series of questions by his granddaughter which he couldn’t answer, he decided to visit his local college and enrol on maths and English courses.
“I’ve been counting my blessings ever since,” recalled Jim. Having left school at 14 with no qualifications and spending many years labouring on a uilding site, Jim began a series of short courses at the age of 69, and gained a C grade in GCSE maths, aged 73. Jim said, “It’s given me a much better outlook on life... I feel that older people could really benefit from learning.”
“It was only in his retirement that Jim acquired a thirst for knowledge,” said nominator Richard. Jim has undertaken many residential courses with Fircroft College, and in 2009 successfully completed courses, including Literacy and Spelling, Gardening, Write for Meaning and Read for Meaning. He also completed the college’s Ransackers course, for which Jim finished a 5,000-word final report that was word processed, despite Jim having very little computer knowledge. “It’s not just about acquiring knowledge though. Learning in general has given me 100% confidence. In the last year or so, I’ve felt I have gained more experience and more confidence by completing more courses, and I’ve really progressed,” said Jim.
Jim’s a real advocate for learning: “I’m learning as much as I can now because I love it and because it’s had such a positive effect on my life. I hope I can inspire other people my age to follow suit.”