Kevan Brown – English Functional Skillls

When I was at school I wasn’t very good at any subject. I was told more often that I was only there to make the numbers up and that I was thick. Sometimes I was put in a corner with a dunce‟s hat on.

When I left junior school to go to ‘big’ school, again I was put in the bottom group, which was the E group. It all started again, like, ‘lets have a laugh and let Brown read’. The name-calling started and got worse so I started to find reasons not to go to school or attend lessons.

Leaving school, I did have some good jobs in a range of areas and actually emigrated to Canada and worked as a surveyor. My lack of education started to let me down and I couldn’t continue and had to come home and start searching for jobs.

As a 30 year-old man I undertook an assessment that deemed me to be illiterate. This did not do anything for my confidence, especially when I was advised to apply for jobs as a car parking attendant, a lift attendant or an office boy.

When my grandchildren came along I couldn’t read to them or help with homework, so I decided to get help.
Someone recommended Manor Training & Resource Centre (MaTReC) and other places, but I chose MaTReC for location. I came to MaTReC and I couldn’t do entry level and staff asked if I could read. I said ‘Yes’ and the tutor told me if I could read, she could teach me.

I had a start date but the night before I was thinking, ‘how can I get out of this?’ I even thought of taking an overdose because in my head I was thinking it was going to be like being back at school. I didn‟t, and started the course. After a couple of weeks I thought it was okay and the tutor didn‟t show me up or take the micky out of me. Staff wanted to help me and teach me, so as the months went by, I grew in confidence.Staff also arranged a dyslexia assessment and confirmed that I am not thick but dyslexic. I have things in place now to help me and I have started to achieve qualifications. I moved on to an English class and, although I started at a low level, it didn’t bother me because of all the encouragement staff gave me. I am doing a maths course as well.

I am now a volunteer driver for the elderly but I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this if it wasn’t for MaTReC, and I will have a go at anything now. I always recommend MaTReC to everyone. In fact, they saved my life as I felt I didn‟t have anything to look forward to. I don’t miss a lesson (and I also won MaTReC’s prize draw), no matter how I feel, as I love to learn. I never thought I would say that and I want to thank MaTReC and all the staff, every single one of them’.