James left school with few qualifications and became a heavy drinker and drug user. With life spiralling out of control, he got back on track, but had to leave work to care for his ill wife. Wishing to do something for himself too, a chance conversation led to James volunteering at community project, ‘Grease Monkeys’, in Durham, helping disengaged local young people restore an old car. James was then nominated to take part in a Digital Champions programme, helping communities in Durham to understand digital technology. Because this role required him to teach others, James completed a level 4 course, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, as well as level 2 in Maths and English at New College, Durham.
James has now begun a Certificate in Education and plans to complete a mechanics course too. “I love college and learning now and it’s my turn to give something back. I’m not that stupid kid, I’m a wise old man!” said James.