At the end of 2015 Connor Stevenson, Apprentice Youth Worker with Raise the Youth Foundation, was Highly Commended by the Association of Colleges and at the beginning of February attended a celebratory event at the Houses of Parliament.
The 24-year-old was officially recognised by the Association of Colleges due to his outstanding efforts in turning his life around through studying his Apprenticeship. He was also Highly Commended by the National Apprenticeship Service for the same reason.
Connor was referred to Raise the Youth Foundation after being involved in varying levels of substance misuse, criminality and anti-social behaviour; however he stayed on to volunteer for two years and was then offered the opportunity to do an Apprenticeship.
Connor, who is currently completing a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Teaching & Learning Specialist Support for Schools said: “It was an honour to be invited to the Houses of Parliament. I’ve lived my whole life in Bolton and had never been to London before, so the whole experience was just so exciting! It made me realise how far I’ve come.”
Jason Steele, CEO of Raise the Youth Foundation, commented: “We are immensely proud of Connor and his hard work and achievement. Through our collaboration with Bolton College we have had a transformative impact on local young people like Connor, and our work together has not only changed Connor's life but the lives of many children and young people who Connor has inspired.”
Viv Fernside, Connor’s former Bolton College tutor who accompanied him to Parliament, added: “I’m enormously proud of how far Connor has come since the start of his Apprenticeship programme. Although outwardly a confident person he was very under-confident in class – especially his English & Maths class. He is now much more confident in his studies and has continued coming to College during the day and evenings, despite some personal obstacles. He is a credit to the College and the young people that he works with in the community and I’m proud to have been a part of his educational journey.”
The celebratory event, held in an elegant suite in the House of Commons, was hosted by Peter Kyle MP, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Further Education and Lifelong Learning. Also in attendance were John Widdowson, the President of the Association of Colleges, and a number of MPs – including Chris Green, MP for Bolton West.
Chris Green MP, who chatted with Connor at the event, said: “It was wonderful to welcome Connor to Parliament and congratulate him in person for his well-deserved success. Connor’s story is truly inspirational, overcoming many significant challenges, and he is a fantastic example to all the young people he works with. Connor shows how, with the right attitude and the right support from a fantastic provider like Bolton College, Apprenticeships can turn your life around.”