“A college referral changed everything for me”
Scott Jenkinson, 44, from Cumbria, overcame homelessness and addiction to become a teacher. He says it's never too late to go back to education.
Scott left school at 17 with poor GCSE grades and went travelling. He became involved in drugs and gangs and spent time in prison.
Scott became addicted to Class A drugs and spent over a decade living on the streets of London before being referred to Coleg Harlech, a residential college for adults in north Wales. There, Scott completed an Access to Higher Education course, which set him on the path to becoming a teacher.
Scott said: “After leaving school I actively avoided education. I completely threw myself into the party scene. I became addicted to drugs and I ended up living on the streets of London. That was my life for over a decade and I couldn’t see a way out.
College changed everything
“Going back to college as an adult showed me I could enjoy learning. The teachers at Coleg Harlech really cared and wanted to see us succeed.
"In 2006 I was accepted to Bangor University to study Psychology and Criminology. I loved university, but I was still struggling with addiction and in my second year I completely relapsed.
"Although I never finished my degree, in many ways that was a turning point. I took every course I could in rehab and for the first time started to think about what I wanted to do next.
Helping others stay off the streets
“My teachers had been such a huge part of my recovery, I decided I wanted to do the same for other people and I’ve been teaching in colleges now for eight years.
"I run 4:28 Training and in 2017 I established Youth Shedz, a project to help young people in Wales stay off the streets by giving them their own space. My aim is for there to be a Youth Shed in every town in Wales.
"My life now is miles away from where I was just a few years ago and I have my referral to adult college to thank for that.”
Want to return to learning?
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If you like the idea of helping young people make the most of their lives, this could be the career for you.