Jamie's educational journey started on a challenging note. Uninterested in traditional subjects, he found solace in music and mischief, eventually leading to his expulsion from school with no qualifications. After navigating through menial jobs, Jamie found his stride in telecom sales, proving his competence.
"I was one of those kids who didn’t do well at school. I was more into Nirvana and the Stone Roses than maths and geography. In the mid-90s, it was easy to bunk off into the woods or doss about in the city for the day. The teachers couldn’t do much about it. My report always read: Jamie could do better.
I wasn’t from a bad background, but I got in with the wrong crowd. Eventually, I was expelled for setting off a fire extinguisher in class and I finished my education with no qualifications. And no goals or aspirations either. What do you do? There were menial jobs. I went from one factory to another. Eventually, I landed a role in telecom sales. At last, I’d found something I was good at.
Fifteen years later, I joined a charity that helps older people to embrace technology. I was like Martin Lewis, on a 1% scale. I now work with refugees and ex-prisoners, as well as volunteering at a food bank and community fridge, which helps people who can’t afford to feed their families."
Chasing the inner glow
Seeking continuous personal growth, Jamie joined the WEA Step Into Care course, a transformative experience that broadened his perspective on social care. The course emphasised the benefits of caring, and fostering a sense of self-worth and fulfilment. Jamie recognised that, beyond financial rewards, the inner glow from helping others is a powerful motivator.
"Having screwed up at school, I now have a great hunger to keep learning. That’s why I joined the WEA Step Into Care course. It was such a good experience. Everything was very well explained by the tutor. There was a lot of interaction. In particular, we took on board that social care is beneficial for all those involved – the recipients as well as the givers. That inner glow from helping others is a powerful incentive. Of course, wages are necessary to pay the bills. But money can’t buy self-worth. That’s why older people are getting into social care, I believe. They want to feel good for giving something back.
You read about the desire to make a quick fortune from being an influencer or starring on TV talent shows. In my eyes, real success is based on personal relationships, making a difference in the community and going to sleep with a smile on your face. The work is tiring. It can be stressful too because you want to see a smile on other people’s faces too".
Grateful for a second chance in education, Jamie knew that while he couldn't change his past, he could shape his future through continuous learning.
"I count myself very fortunate that I’ve had a second chance in education. I can’t change what happened at school. That silly boy is part of my past. But I’ve since learnt that I can mould my future. Learning is a big part of that progression because it allows you to continue improving. You can share lived experiences and take on board knowledge from others. Learning is caring too."