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Dedicated Chad wins major skills award

PUBLISHED: 19:30 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:07 07 July 2010

A SWAFFHAM man whose determination and dedication has helped him overcome tragedy and improve his skills was on Friday rewarded for his efforts.

Chad Hogben was among six people and one business who came out on top in the first Big Skill Awards, at a ceremony in front of The Forum in Norwich.

A SWAFFHAM man whose determination and dedication has helped him overcome tragedy and improve his skills was on Friday rewarded for his efforts.

Chad Hogben was among six people and one business who came out on top in the first Big Skill Awards, at a ceremony in front of The Forum in Norwich. He won the Big Skill Excellence Award and 17-19 Learner Award.

Chad, 19, fought back from losing both his parents to become an “inspiration” to others as he learned construction skills.

His mother left when he was very young and his father died when he was eight - leaving him to live with his grandparents.

He said: “Due to the personal trauma of the circumstances of my dad's death I became rather disruptive at school I was constantly in trouble and finally attended anger management classes to try to improve my state of mind.”

Chad was withdrawn from school in year 10 and managed to get three D grades at GCSE after attending the Fakenham 3D centre.

But he benefited from an extraordinary inner strength.

He attended boxing and swimming groups and began music lessons, passing his foundation level in classical guitar performance.

At 16 Chad was offered a job as a builder's labourer and linked it with an apprenticeship scheme at the College of West Anglia at King's Lynn.

He said: “My start at college was a slow one as I was still not too sociable and not used to classrooms, written work and lessons. However, Eddie and my workmates were very supportive and Iver Auker, my tutor, gave me additional help when I needed it.”

He added that his nan and granddad had been “very supportive” through all his problems.

Chad has achieved a host of qualifications and is now rated the trainee at the college to have “made the most progress”, and who is an “inspiration to others”.

He said: “I have fought to overcome the disruptive person who could so easily have gone further astray and led a very different life.”

The competition, run by Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Norfolk and BBC Radio Norfolk, recognises and rewards people who have improved lives through learning.

Winners were presented with a trophy and £250 of vouchers by Scotland rugby star Kenny Logan, who recently learnt a new skill by competing on Strictly Come Dancing. He also learnt to read as an adult because of dyslexia.

The awards event was the climax of a day-long showcase event outside The Forum.

Members of the public tried their hands at different skills taught by colleges and training providers, including tractor control and building wind turbines.

Graham Brough, area director of LSC Norfolk, said: “The Big Skill has done a fantastic job of raising awareness of the learning and training opportunities on offer in Norfolk.

“Chad and our other award winners will hopefully be an inspiration to others to show that it is possible to overcome challenges and learn new skills that can open doors and change lives for the better.”

Meanwhile Premier Foods of Methwold won the Workforce Learning Award, celebrating a company's commitment to training and developing its staff.

Premier Foods has signed up 44 employees on a variety of courses, from Train to gain to apprenticeships, which has improved individual confidence and decreased the number of accidents at work.

An improvement has also been seen in the standards of cleaning and a reduction in waste.

The firm is working closely with Poultec Training to develop NVQs that are specifically relevant to the work undertaken at Premier Foods.

In other results, Carl Harder, 15, from Thetford was highly commended in the 14-16 learner award and Richard King, 24, from Thetford, was highly commended in the Learner's Champion Award.

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