‘Yarmouth needs this’ - Man who suffered at school opens education and training centre
PUBLISHED: 15:56 29 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 29 August 2020
A man who struggled at school due to undiagnosed dyslexia is about to launch a new education and training centre in Great Yarmouth.
Mark Shanahan, 40, is preparing to open Horizon Community Training on Hall Quay next month - but the process has not been easy.
In early March, before the country went into lockdown, he signed the lease on the building.
“Back then I was being told the country wasn’t going to shut down and that I could shake hands with a Covid victim,” Mr Shanahan said.
“Two weeks later I was sitting in a massive building on my own and not even family could come to decorate. It was a nightmare.”
Six months later, though, and things are looking up.
During lockdown Mr Shanahan, who worked for 15 years at East Coast College, renovated the property, building a reception, classrooms, a reading corner and garden.
“People who have come in have said, yeah, Yarmouth needs this.
“I’m trying to get support and show there’s a real need for it in the area,” he said.
His goal is to provide training for young people not in mainstream education, students with behavioural and emotional difficulties who have dropped out of education.
“We do a lot of independent living, we run a little shop to teach retail skills, we renovate furniture.
“Students will also get a chance to build a music studio where songs and YouTube videos can be recorded,” he said.
Mr Shanahan’s journey has been winding and unpredictable.
“I’ve always had an interest in teaching,” he said. “I like helping kids who people have given up on. I was one of those kids, I can kind of relate to it.”
He was brought up on a council estate in London by a single parent and had undiagnosed dyslexia until his late 20s.
He worked across Europe and Australia, before settling in Great Yarmouth, where he joined the college as a co-educator in 2006, becoming lead co-educator in 2007, before going on to teach basic skills (Maths and English) and personal social development
Mr Shanahan said he is waiting for an inspection from the Department of Education before officially launching the centre.
To find out more visit their website: http://horizoncommunitytraining.co.uk/
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