Monday, June 30, 2008

Kensington Community Learning Centre wins two national awards

Many congratulation to Alan Tapp and his team and the students at Kensington Community Learning Centre for all their hard work in achieving not one but two national awards. Liam, Wendy and I are all very proud of you

- taken from the centre's press release

Kensington Community Learning Centre swept the board at the national UK online centres Awards Ceremony, with not just one but two top Awards.

The centre itself won an Outstanding Centre Award, which recognises it as one of the best centres in the country. Meanwhile one of their students, 38 year-old Roy Pearman, was singled out from hundreds of nationwide nominees for the top Award in the Outstanding Achievement category, recognising his progress in using his new IT skills to change his life for the better.

Roy took the decision to give up his string of manual jobs to study full-time, because he wanted to do something with his mind instead of his body. As well as studying accountancy part-time at the local college, Roy spent the rest of his time in the Kensington Community Learning Centre (CLC), learning the other office and ICT skills he’d need to get the sort of job he wanted.

Kensington CLC specialises in helping people get the skills, qualifications and even work experience to reach whatever goals they set themselves. With their support, Roy quickly got to grips with computers, and started volunteering at the centre to help out. At the same time he was using the internet to apply for every job he saw, with very little luck. After another near miss at interview stage, Roy asked the interviewer to take him on for free to see what he could do. They were so impressed with his determination, skills and attitude, it only took one week for the job to become permanent.

Roy explains: “When I was at school I just didn’t apply myself, but going to the UK online centre made me realise that there was so much more that I could do. Without the certificates and experience I gained there I don’t think I’d ever have got this job. I think it’s safe to say it’s helped me change my life for the better, because now I’m finally the person I want to be, doing the things I want to do.”

As the Overall winner in his category, Roy won a £1,000 grant for Kensington Community Learning Centre, and a laptop computer for himself courtesy of Awards sponsors Intel.

Alan Tapp is Centre Manager at Kensington Community Learning Centre. He says: “I’m delighted Roy has won this Award, because he thoroughly deserves it. He’s never given up, he’s always kept his eye on the prize, and he’s worked incredibly hard. He’s living proof that learning and technology can change lives. Obviously I’m also delighted our centre’s been recognised for the quality of the support we provide! There are more than 6,000 UK online centres across England, so being picked out as one of the top centres in the country is fantastic.”

Alan and Roy collected their Awards at a ceremony in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. There handing out the Awards were new Digital Inclusion Minister Paul Murphy and GMTV’s Andrea McLean.

Paul Murphy said: “Computers and the internet can open up whole new worlds, and getting the skills and support to use them at places like UK online centres really can change lives for the better. The Kensington Community Learning Centre has done wonderful things in the local community to help people like Roy use technology to overcome their barriers and achieve their goals. These are outstanding examples of digital inclusion in action, and certainly worthy of the Awards they’ve won today.”

Andrea added: “We don’t seem to say ‘well done’ enough to people who overcome circumstances to accomplish extraordinary things in their lives, or to the people and places that help them along the way. Roy’s journey really is an inspiration to others, and I was delighted to be there to share his day, and privileged to hand over these Awards.”

If you want to follow in Roy’s footsteps and find out how technology could help you, pop into the Kensington Community Learning Centre on Kensington, or call Alan on 0151 260 1006. Alternatively you can find your nearest UK online centre by calling 0800 77 1234.

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