Nathan: “Opportunities like this offer people hope.”
Nathan, 42, had been in and out of prison for 13 years when he found his ‘way out’ of drugs and crime through rehabilitation programmes and education. Now ten years after leaving prison, he says that studying a French course funded by Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) was ‘integral to his recovery.’ In his words:
“It helped me to realise my potential and develop self esteem as well as the knowledge that I was able to achieve academically. What I needed was some encouragement, for someone else to believe I could do it as I didn't, and for someone to help me with the funding. I had never achieved anything, other than an extensive criminal record, so had no belief in my ability to achieve anything constructive at all.”
Now a family man and father of two, Nathan has dedicated his career since leaving prison to helping others in his role as a drugs counsellor. Completing the French course successfully gave Nathan the confidence he needed to study further courses with the Open University (OU). He says:
“I finished that course and went on to study the next and the next. I ended up doing two years French, two years Criminology and three years Sociology. The last couple of years finished off in the community after my release. I have now been out of prison for nearly 10 years... I have a diploma in Criminology, a mixed subject degree, two NVQ 3s an NVQ 4, am a trained A1 assessor, have completed basic teacher training, various management courses and have quite a job too.”
Nathan entered the prison system without any formal qualifications or skills. He completed Maths and English Levels 2 and 3 and an Art and Design NVQ provided by the prison, but didn’t find them challenging enough. He said:
“There were no other courses I could do and I was very aware that these qualifications were useless to me in getting a job or starting a career... This seemed to be the case in all the prisons I had been in. There was only ever basic skills, or key skills, and art classes available and no further education or way to progress after this...
"Opportunities like this open up a whole range of choices and create real life chances for people who otherwise have very little hope.”
PLEASE NOTE - the stock image is not of Nathan.
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