Darlington College mature student Oliver Greenwood is to go back to the classroom to take on the role of ICT curriculum resource support officer at Abbey Fields School in Darlington.
Oliver, 25, who originated from Hemel Hempstead, London, moved to Darlington with his partner in 2006 but struggled to find work as the economic recession hit.
“Everyone said that it would be easy to find manual warehouse work when I moved up here,” said Oliver.
“But it was just as the recession took hold and I found that I was applying for basic jobs against people with diplomas and A levels and I just couldn’t compete.
“I’d left school at 16 with just three GCSEs so I knew that I had to do something to improve my chances.”
Starting from scratch Oliver completed an adult literacy course at his local community centre before re-sitting his science GCSE.
“It was while I was re-doing my science GCSE that I thought I could have a future working in computers,” said Oliver.
“I knew that I didn’t want to work in warehouses for the rest of my life and I’d always enjoyed computer science so I came to see the tutors at Darlington College who helped me enrol on a course in networking hardware and support.”
Gaining the skills and knowledge to apply for positions within the IT industry during his two-year course Oliver impressed the head teacher at Abbey Fields School to secure his new job.
He will now be in charge of more than 40 computers and three servers, ensuring that the school network runs smoothly, as well as supporting pupils and teachers.
“I’m so happy that all my hard work has finally paid off,” said Oliver.
“When I left school I didn’t think about long term prospects, but now I have two small children I realise how important it is to aspire to a job that has plenty of opportunities to progress.
“There are so many avenues to pursue within IT, it’s always changing. Getting the qualifications and skills I needed at Darlington College has enabled me to do so much more.”