Chatteris Greg’s a class act as he proves ’em wrong
A dad who has not been in the classroom for over three decades has been named in the top three engineering students of the year.
Greg Martin, 51, of Chatteris, is dyslexic and was told at school he would never amount to anything.
But having completed a BTEC at Cambridge Regional College he has been named from hundreds of entrants studying engineering at further education colleges across the country as one of the top three students nationally.
Now a successful technical and engineering manager with ENGIE, Greg hated school.
But he is urging people of any age to consider going back to the classroom to give it another go.
He says if he inspires one other learner it will mean more to him than winning this award.
Greg was awarded silver in the BTEC awards, while fellow college student Rico Barbera, from St Neots, who was also named in the top three, has been awarded bronze.
Father-of-four Greg left school in 1984, making his recent HNC course his first time officially back in the classroom for 35 years.
His son Lane, 14, helped him with the course as well as encouragement from his children Luke, 27, Lea, 15 and Larna, 12.
He also had plenty of encouragement from wife Angie.
Greg said: “I am dyslexic, although that wasn’t recognised as a thing in the 70s and 80s, so back then I struggled. I hated school.
“My teachers said I would never amount to anything. Four years later I was back in that school replacing all their old boilers as a qualified gas engineer.
“If I inspire one older learner to go back to college that will mean more to me than my silver award.
“Studying again all these years later was hard at times, juggling work and family commitments, but I was given plenty of help from tutors, classmates and family with reading and spelling. I can’t pretend, I was scared coming back to college. On the first day I thought what on earth have I done?
“However, the tutors were incredible and the whole thing became a team work exercise.
“Often I could help the younger ones out with my job experience of project management, while they would help me with things I struggled with.
“I got further than I ever thought and that is thanks to the amazing teaching staff. I want to tell anybody reading this never let anybody tell you that you cannot do something. You can do anything if you just put your mind to it.
“Don’t be scared, give it a go. I might even progress to do my HND. I have proved what you can achieve when you push yourself forward.”
Dr Omar Bassam, course tutor at Cambridge Regional College for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: “We are incredibly proud of these two students. They have worked very hard and the results are clear.
“To have two students from Cambridge Regional College win awards for BTEC Engineering Student of the Year, the best in the country, is a real accolade for them and for the college.
“It is an achievement as it is a competitive award. It is always a pleasure to teach students like Rico and Greg and to be part of their progress and achievement.”