Ian Howells has been an Adult Education Tutor in Blaenau Gwent since 2001 and has made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of learners. He currently teaches 10 classes ranging from entry level in English and Maths to higher level GCSE Maths and everything in between.

Before tutoring, Ian had a long and varied career, starting with a science degree and a job as a micro-biologist in the local steelworks, he ran his own business before re-training as an adult tutor 20 years ago.

Excellent outcomes are visible in his work. Learners achieved a 100% pass rate on his essential skills courses in the last year. Some students achieved higher level maths, and all have progressed onto PGCE courses.

Ian says, “Adult learning is where I feel at home. I enjoy teaching people, but I also enjoy meeting and talking to people.  I like to find out their interests and hobbies and incorporate this into their learning- it makes it more relevant to them”.

Ian has a visual impairment and travels to his classes by bus. His popularity is such that he never turns a learner away. His classes are overflowing and often overspill into the cafe area in the Learning Action Centre. He deals with a diverse range of learners with different needs but he’s able to tailor his support for each person. Even though Ian’s classes are always full, he is happy to accommodate a PGCE student looking for volunteer hours.

Ian was nominated by Karen Bennett and she said, “I have never known him to be late – or sick for that matter. His results are not down to luck, but due to the hours and hours of preparation time, much of it unpaid – Ian is frequently in the Centre through the half terms and holidays.  I really don’t know what I would do if Ian did decide to retire!”

“Tutoring allows me to help those in the community who may not have had the same advantages in life that some of us take for granted. I believe that Adult Community Learning has a place for everyone and each person’s journey is different.  For some it may be to get a place in higher education, but I have also taught an 80-year-old learner who just wanted to write his own name.  Everyone’s aspiration is as valid as anyone else’s and you never know what you can achieve until you try.  The hardest part of adult learning is making that first step!”.