An adult student at St Helens College, David Purcell, 29, recently received the The Lady Grace Sheppard ‘Award for Outstanding Achievement’, given by The Bishop David Sheppard 10th Anniversary Trust, as recognition for his outstanding commitment to his studies after overcoming barriers to complete his studies, along with his dedication to his external volunteering work.
In September 2016, David enrolled onto the level 3 diploma in Youth Work Practice at St Helens College. Originally from the Republic of Ireland, David suffers from Dyspraxia, which affects his handwriting. But despite this he managed to successfully complete his course, producing some excellent assignments, often above and beyond the requirements of the course.
It was David’s dedication to his volunteer work where he showed true determination which led him to be put forward for the award. As part of his studies, David volunteered at a facility that provides an informal learning environment for learners aged 13 – 29. In his role, David worked alongside staff to support learners, re-engaging them with education, employment and training. Although, the course only requires students to undertake 2-3 hours a week volunteering, David committed to 2-3 days as well as his two days in college.
Speaking to David about his dedication to volunteer work, he said, “With my volunteering, I knew that I wanted to make a difference to the young people in my community. I get great satisfaction through watching them thrive and progress, especially those who I have mentored.”
After successfully completing the level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice, David enrolled onto the foundation degree in Criminal Justice at University Centre St Helens in September 2017.
David says: “I wanted to equip myself with the right knowledge moving forward, so I decided to enrol at University Centre St Helens. It was perfect for me because of its smaller class sizes and contact time with lecturers who are incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. The College has been really supportive – when they became aware of my struggles, the Vice Principal awarded me a hardship grant to fund a note taker to support me in my lectures and seminars.”
Commenting on David receiving the award, course tutor for youth work practice, Joanne Caley Arnold, said: “David took on a lot of responsibility within his placement and really showed his immense ability to connect with young people. However, his journey was not without his own personal and financial struggles. Many would have given up but David showed true resilience in dealing with these factors and staying on track. David really deserves this award for all the reasons above but also because he is genuinely a gentleman.”
Upon completion of his degree, David hopes for a successful career in the Criminal Justice system.
David was presented with a cheque for £100 and a certificate from Margaret Sadler on behalf of the The Bishop David Sheppard 10th Anniversary Trust.