Chris could be crowned Learner of the Year

A Coleg Gwent student is crossing his fingers after being shortlisted for a Colegau Cymru Learner of the Year award in recognition of his progress since he started at Pontypool Campus in 2008.

18 year old Chris Evans from Ponthir, Newport, an Independent Living Skills (ILS) student, has made it down to the final few out of hundreds of nominations for students at colleges across Wales.  Chris, his family and his tutors are hoping that his passion for learning, determination to succeed and what he’s achieved during his time at college, stand out for the judging panel as much as it signifies the incredible journey that Chris has made in the last two years.

During his time at College, where he studies a number of different subject areas, one of Chris’s many achievements was his first book ‘The Royal Welsh Railway’. As part of National Book Week health and care tutors were presented with one of the first copies for their students to read to children in the nursery setting.

Chris’s tutor, Ingrid Sourbutts, explains more about how Chris has embraced his education:  “It truly is a fascinating story and Chris’s illustrations paint unforgettable images for the reader.  It took a lot of time, thought, hard work and passion to complete this project, which tied in nicely with his creative writing for his Literacy. It took a great deal of preparation.”

In his construction lessons, Chris was soon to discover more new skills, including brickwork. His dexterity and eye for a straight line enabled Chris to develop at such a pace that his construction lecturers could only marvel at the quality and preciseness of his work.

Not only did Chris excel at his brickwork but he soon found out he was even better at woodwork. His attention to detail and his skilful, precise approach to all that he crafted, earned him respect from students and staff alike.

Chris has also touched the lives of others, taking a keen interest in helping others, notably in his involvement in the College’s Operation Christmas Child campaign which saw the ILS department at Pontypool Campus college 325 boxes of gifts for needy children in Belarus.  Ingrid explains:  “The one thing that touched us all was when he arrived at college an entire childhood collection of models. He felt that he would love to see children who had nothing have as much joy as he had with them.”

Chris also involved himself in the department’s Allotment project and it did not take long before he saw his work benefit the local community.

All staff at the Campus are delighted that Chris has been shortlisted for Learner of the Year. Tutor Ingrid is particularly proud:  “College life has been an incredible journey for Chris and he has used it to develop his skills and personality. It has been a pleasure to teach Chris and have the opportunity to watch him grow into a very successful student who has managed to overcome numerous barriers to reach the point that he is at now.”

Chris’s mum, Jane Evans, was overjoyed that the College nominated her son and commented:  “Christopher has seemed to change before our eyes over the last two years; he seems so much more comfortable in his own skin. It has been a delight to see his successes celebrated with his achievements in woodwork and construction. His confidence in his own abilities has grown immensely as a result of this, as a direct result of the enthusiasm and encouragement by the staff supporting him.”

Chris will find out if he’s successful when the winners are announced at an event on 27 May.

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