My name is Gordon and it’s a very simple story how I came to be learning at Hope. I was working as an agency driver for quite a few years driving HGV’s but after a few years the driving work was starting to become scarce and I was only working 3-4 days a week. One of the firms I was working for over the Christmas period asked me (out of the blue) if I was looking for permanent work. I said ‘yes’, of course, as most of the other regular jobs were drying up so I jumped at the chance to work full-time for a local company.

This is where my connection with the Hope Foundation began. The shift manager at the time said, ‘great! All you have to do is fill in the online application form. Then they will send you a start date by email then you’re off and running. You might as well do it now, use that computer.’

This is where my problems started. I explained to the manager that I hadn’t got a clue about computers, never mind an email address! He thought I was joking. It was very embarrassing. The only job applications I had ever filled out were with a pen and paper! Anyway, he was great about it and did the online application for me. After this I made up my mind that I needed to, at least, learn the basics of computers.

A short while later I was driving into Middlesbrough and I passed the Hope Foundation. Plastered on the side of the building was a massive poster saying ‘Learn IT here’. I thought ‘here is my chance to learn about computers’ and I went and made enquiries. They told me they did a Wednesday night class for beginners and that’s how I started to learn about computers.

Now, I won’t say it’s been easy fitting my learning in around my work patterns but I’ve stuck at it and The Hope Foundation have really gone out of their way to help me learn. The great thing about Hope is that you are not judged on what you can or cannot do. The tutors and volunteers help you to learn in a fun, relaxed and friendly way and after a few weeks you suddenly realise you can use a computer! Not like an expert maybe but enough to know your way around one and the knowledge grows every time you attend class.

I admit it hasn’t been easy but my tutors have been able to help me fit learning in around my work commitments. I have now completed and achieved my L2 ITQ ECDL and am moving on to improving my English and Maths skills. If it hadn’t been for the Hope Foundation I would still be in the dark about computers now.

If you are thinking about learning IT I would definitely recommend the Hope Foundation above any other training provider. Come and give it a try, what have you got to lose? You’ll probably find that you have a great deal to gain. Thank you.