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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Tees Achieve - Breaking barriers to adult learning

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

tees achieve breaking barriers

Have you ever wanted to improve your skills or fancied sharing your expertise with other learners? Do you wish you could return to learning or training in a comfortable and understanding atmosphere?

Residents across the Borough have the chance to access a wide range of learning and training opportunities through Tees Achieve, Stockton Council's Adult Education Service.

Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, Councillor Jim Beall, said: "Tees Achieve is an excellent service that gives people of all ages the chance to get involved with a variety of learning and training opportunities.

"From improving skills to enhancing employability prospects, Tees Achieve provides people with the foundation they need to realise their goals, whatever they may be, through outstanding programmes and dedicated support."

Tees Achieve exists to act as a supportive stepping stone for those wishing to either learn new skills or develop their existing ones.

And that's exactly what these five Stockton Borough residents have succeeded in doing - making the decision to try something new and begin their own unique journey toward a better future.

Having been born deaf and coping with haemophilia, where a slight injury can result in severe bleeding, Malcolm Hill is used to overcoming barriers. The 27 year old from Billingham asked to start courses to improve his English and maths skills through his local job centre.

Malcolm usually communicates through sign language but has found that the written word, while challenging, has opened up a whole new world for him.

His maths skills are improving all the time and Malcolm has even surprised himself with the speed of his improved mental arithmetic.

Pam Chapman, a former healthcare assistant from Stockton, 60, believes Tees Achieve has given her a "new lease of life" and urges people not to view their age as an obstacle to learning.

After initially joining courses to improve her English and maths, Pam was encouraged by her tutor to apply for the position of voluntary support worker. She now supports learners across a variety of courses, including assisting those with dyslexia to better understand texts in a simpler way.

Pam said: "Everyone I have met at Tees Achieve has been absolutely brilliant; they are so helpful and friendly. Here you can talk to the tutors as friends and mentors."

After leaving school, Rex Pollard, 48, never thought he would set foot in a classroom to learn again. A former school caretaker, he decided to try his hand at becoming a learning mentor for children.

To reach that goal, Rex knew he needed to brush up on his English and maths skills before taking a Level 2 Teaching Assistant course. Now well on his way to gaining his Level 3 Award with Tees Achieve, he couldn't be happier with his progress.

Rex said: "If you have the fire and passion to try something different - do it! I am living proof that adults can learn too and change direction if they really want to."

Lisa Bourne, 23, from Billingham, is enjoying a new career as a home care worker thanks to the support she has received from Tees Achieve tutors.

Tutors helped her to overcome her fear of maths and her newfound numerical success, starting with the Entry Level 3 course; she is now on the road to completing her Level 2 in Functional Skills Maths.

Lisa said: "My confidence has grown and I'm enjoying getting through the work at my own pace. The progress I've made with my maths has meant I could cut out some of the NVQ course content because I had already attained the level required."

"A dream come true", is how Keith Palmer, 51, from Norton, describes his experience as both a learner and tutor with Tees Achieve.

Previously an owner of a popular advertising agency, Keith wished to return to his roots and his passion for art which culminated in a graphics degree from the Newcastle College of Arts (now Northumbria University).

He began his journey to becoming a tutor through support from Tees Achieve to take the Preparing to Teach in Lifelong Learning course, which was followed by a Certificate in Education programme.

Keith is now Natural England's 'Artist in Residence' at Moorehouse in Upper Teesdale. His students are benefiting from the experience of a devoted tutor who credits Tees Achieve for giving him a platform to succeed.

Keith said: "The staff at Tees Achieve have been wonderful both from a learning and teaching perspective. It's a fantastic environment to work in where everyone supports each other."

Tees Achieve runs courses in a number of venues across Stockton Borough including Billingham Community Centre, Kiora Hall in Roseworth and North Shore Academy in Stockton among others.

Dozens of opportunities are available across the year ranging from functional skills in English and maths to basic DIY, foreign languages and creative courses.

To search the full range of courses and enrol visit

To find out more information about Tees Achieve please call 01642 527904 or email [email protected] 

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