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Dave’s Story

Dave, a retired Police Officer with a non-academic background, has been inspired to embark on an incredible academic journey by the Future Skills Institute at Truro & Penwith College, that has transformed his perspective on learning, his own capabilities and has seen him gain vital functional skills and a first-class degree to further his career.

"You do not know what you are capable of until you do it."

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Job title: In Schools Coordinator

Company: Next Steps South West

Course: SUCCESS Level 4 Project Management for Business

Dave’s educational journey had a rocky start. Leaving school with only a few GCSEs, he joined British Gas as a Gas Service Engineer. Despite his initial disinterest in academics, he enjoyed the practical challenges of his work. After over seven years in this role, he transitioned to the police force, where he served diligently for 24 years before retiring in 2019.

In 2022, Dave applied for a role as an ‘In Schools Coordinator’ with Next Steps South West at Truro and Penwith College. Little did he know that this step would change his perception of learning. Dave began his journey studying a Functional Skills in English course, anticipating a low pass grade due to his prior academic experiences. To his surprise, he achieved a remarkable score of over 90%, which was far higher than his expectations.

Later that year, Dave received an opportunity that would test his newfound confidence. He was offered the chance to complete the ESF funded SUCCESS module in Project Management, accredited at level 4 by the University of Plymouth. Although it was a higher level of study than he had previously undertaken, Dave was intrigued by the subject’s relevance to his job role and decided to take on the challenge.

Throughout the course, Dave faced moments of uncertainty and difficulty, but he persevered with the help of his tutor, supportive colleagues, and by dedicating time to thoroughly review online resources and the student handbook.

After completing the assignments on time, Dave awaited his results with a mix of anticipation and doubt. When he learned that he had not only passed but had also achieved a remarkable first-class grade, his sense of accomplishment and self-confidence soared. The tutor’s feedback praised his work as ‘logical, clear, and well-structured’.

Buoyed by his outstanding achievement, Dave’s confidence in his academic abilities grew significantly. He realised that he had untapped potential for higher education and decided to apply for a BA in Celtic Studies at the University of Wales, Trinity St David. Dave now encourages others who may have reservations about returning to education after a time away to take the leap commenting: “You do not know what you are capable of until you do it.”

Dave’s path from being academically disinterested to excelling in Higher Education demonstrates that with determination and the right support, you can unlock your full potential and pursue new horizons in learning. His story is an inspiration to anyone who believes that they are not cut out for higher education: it is never too late to learn.

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