Plymouth Resident Highly Commended In Festival Of Learning Awards

12 June 2018 | Access to HE & GCSEs

Adam Ballantine from Plymouth has been announced as Festival of Learning’s Learning for Health Highly Commended Individual in their 2018 awards for his exceptional achievements in adult learning. This award celebrates adults who have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work through learning.

Adam, age 41, grew up in a travelling family which meant it was a challenge to access regular education. He turned to drugs and alcohol and a life of ‘bad decisions’.

One day, Adam decided to change his fortune and checked himself into rehab. Here, he attended a two-day course in psychology and became convinced that this was his future.

Adam worked hard to achieve his maths and English functional skills. He then enrolled on an Access to Social Science course at City College Plymouth which helped him understand his own addictions and gave him the skills to teach others how to deal with their illness.

Alongside his studies, Adam attends treatment centres to share his story and encourage others to turn their lives around. Working with Closereach and Broadreach charities he is determined to make a difference in his own community.

Adam spoke about the impact his learning has had: “My learning has given me the opportunity to grow in confidence and boost my self-esteem. I’ve learned a lot about myself and have used many of the techniques I’ve been taught to help manage my own addiction.

“In a way, I am not just learning to help others but I am also learning to help myself.

“Speaking to people in the same situation, I am able to use my learning to explain addiction and how they too can break out of the mould if they choose to. My learning has given direction, motivation and purpose.”

Gemma Hutchings, Access Co-ordinator at City College Plymouth said: “Adam is on a very personal journey – he has gone from addict to recovering addict, and now from learner to teacher.

“He truly puts his heart into helping others and is very positive example of how education can change people’s lives.”

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: “Adam’s story is a powerful example of how adult learning can have a transformative impact on health and wellbeing. Not only has he learned how to better manage his own addiction, Adam is inspiring and supporting others to do the same through his work in the community.

“Festival of Learning is all about inspirational stories of people like Adam that show that anyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try, particularly in June when hundreds of free activities can be found on our Have a Go Month calendar. Further information on learning opportunities and support with the costs of courses is available through the National Careers Service, colleges and community learning providers.”

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