Sheer determination helped Mark Beaton fight his way back from the depths of mental and physical illness, homelessness and unemployment to become an excellent student, while starting his own business as a sports massage therapist.
Even as he struggled to gain new skills and build the self-confidence he had lacked all his life, Mark was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, which threatened the manual dexterity he needed for the practical skills to
succeed in his chosen profession.
Undeterred, on recovery from an operation he embarked on the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Body Massage, graduating from Morley College, London, in 2009, with distinctions in both the theory and practical exams. Mark completed his Sports Massage Diploma this year, and he sought Jobcentre advice to come off benefits and train to set up his business.
He admits that, 30 years after leaving school, “as a very troubled youngster”, studying was a tough challenge. But it has given him confidence that had always eluded him. Mark says, “Adult education has not only given me the chance for a career change, at 44, it has given me a total life change.”
Julia Wood, his tutor, now uses him as an inspiration for her current students.