From education to employment

Big Brother winner presents awards, and attributes his sucess through going to college

More than 40 students from West Cheshire College have been presented with awards celebrating their achievement during the academic year 2003-2004 at the annual College Awards ceremony attended by television DIY expert and winner of Big Brother 1 ““ Craig Phillips.

Before presenting the students with their awards Craig spoke about how he struggled at school because of his dyslexia, which wasn”t identified until much later in life and how, after his father’s tragic death when he was 13, he built himself up from a part-time butcher with no qualifications to a business man with 30 employees and a million pound turnover.

He said: “At the age of 18 I decided to make a career change from butchering and I got a job as a bricklayer. I went to the local college one day a week to get some qualifications and then progressed onto an advanced bricklaying course at night school. Thanks to college my confidence really grew and I decided to take the plunge and start my own business when I was 19. It was really hard work managing all my employees and doing my own tax returns at a time when I still didn”t know I had dyslexia but I managed to make a real success of my business.

“After winning Big Brother I was introduced to the world of television but bricklaying has always been my vocation. In four years I have appeared in more than 500 television programmes and I now have my own production company making programmes for the Home and Leisure channel. I stand by the fact that it’s my knowledge of the construction industry that made this possible and it was my college course that got me started. College is the way forward and when you all get your ideal jobs ““ you”ll have West Cheshire College to thank.”

In her address to the ceremony, College Principal Sara Mogel reflected on a busy and rewarding year for both the College and its students. She said: “Our students have been so successful in the past year. Our pass rate on National Diplomas (which are equivalent to 3 A levels) was 94% and we had around 150 students going on to Higher Education. There was a 100% pass rate on our Carpentry and Joinery courses ““ which is in itself fantastic but is even more of and achievement when you take into account that this was the first year we had run Carpentry and Joinery courses!

“Our students are wonderful ““ they are with us because they want to improve their career prospects and they want to contribute to a successful society, many doing so whilst working and raising a family. They are real role models in society ““ the successful and hard working students of West Cheshire College.”

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