AN adult learner from South Shields has used his new-found skills to launch his own business – and win a regional award.
Ellis Gardiner, 59, of Lawe Road, South Shields, embarked on a series of IT courses after being unemployed for almost a year.
After learning the skills and the confidence he needed to start his own recruitment company – Kes Solutions UK Ltd – he has now been recognised with a Senior Learner Regional Award in the North East.
The awards are part of Adult Learners’ Week, which runs all next week.
Nearing 60, Mr Gardiner had struggled to find work in the current job market without IT skills, so he decided to undertake levels one and two IT courses at E-Achieve in South Shields.
He used his new knowledge to start his own business, and was able to develop a business plan with three years’ financial forecast, and to get funding from the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
Now the company is up and running, Mr Gardiner is able to take on many new roles, including sorting the payroll, organising online banking and composing presentations.
He said: “When I first started the course, my experience was very limited, but my fears were soon put to one side.
“I really enjoyed attending the classes, and I have gained the skills I need to use a computer much more confidently.”
Linda Watson, of E-Achieve, said: “Ellis’s learning journey was purely positive and inspirational.
“His new IT skills have enriched his employability prospects, and helped him enormously in his new job.”
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: “I am a big fan of Adult Learners’ Week, and the contribution it makes in celebrating the people who have embraced education in adulthood and in encouraging those who are considering starting out on a similar journey.”
Adult Learners’ Week, which runs from June 14 to 20, aims to encourage lifelong learning.
E-Achieve is based at Waverley House, Market Dock, South Shields, and can be contacted on 240 5060.