“I am originally from Cudworth or ‘Cudeth’ as we call it!
“I think I should be able to identify with the students in and around the Barnsley area.
“I was a pupil at Holgate from 1967-72 and was basically the class joker and didn’t really apply myself until it was too late.
“I was also the ‘fat kid’ who was last to be picked for any team when it came around to PE!
“I left school with two ‘O’ levels and went to Grimethorpe Colliery as an apprentice electrician.
“I attended Barnsley Technical College and studied Electrical Engineering, gaining qualifications along the way.
“I was at the ‘pit’ when the strike came along (the comment at the BBIS launch, regarding the effect on the area and the loss of confidence created amongst the community was accurate but something not commonly discussed) and had 12 months gardening, decorating, walking and fishing.
“Then we went back to work and I was one of about 20 people out of 1500 to go down the pit to check everything was okay.
“That return trip down the mine after 12 months in the day light made me realise there was perhaps other things I should do.
“I left the mining industry in 1989 (after 17 years) and went to work as an Alarm engineer, installing and servicing security alarms.
“Without going into too much detail at this point, I progressed through the business from engineer, team leader, Installation Manager, Service Manager, General Manager, Communications Director and then Operations Director for Europe and South Africa for ADT Fire & Security in 2004.
“I am presently employed as the Regional Director for Orona, a major lift and escalator provider.
“My personal opinion would be that perhaps my story ( if required) could be pertinent, as I realised too late that I didn’t take my opportunity at school.
“I could enlarge on the opportunity Horizon students have in an incredible facility with all staff committed to giving them the best possible start and preparation for life after school.
“I now realise I could have had my success earlier if I had applied myself.
“I could also explain that although I didn’t excel at school, most of us – in fact all of us – are good at something. Some of us don’t even know it yet, but they are exceptionally good at something. That might be maths, English, football, cricket, running, art, computer skills, singing, x-box, musical instrument, being late for school, spotting Mr Bowen at 200 metres away when they are doing something they shouldn’t be, etc….!
“Everyone has a natural ability to do something exceptional.
“My particular strength is determination and a desire to succeed. I would then like to expand upon how my strengths enabled me to achieve my success and how their strength will also enable them to do the same.
“With reference to my earlier comment regarding confidence, I have seen and interviewed many people throughout my career who have different levels of confidence. Without any doubt, individuals with high levels of confidence (not arrogance) and a desire to succeed, are more successful.
“Not all students are at the same academic level but I do believe they can be given other strengths.”