Rhyl based learner Anthony Ellis recovers from a stroke to continue his studies with ALW | Adult Learning Wales

Rhyl based learner Anthony Ellis recovers from a stroke to continue his studies with ALW


Anthony Ellis attends the Digital Skills class in Rhyl, led by tutor Janette Williams. The class is run in collaboration with our partner, Maximus. Anthony had previously worked as a welder, which did not involve any use of IT.  Due to a serious back problem, Anthony was not able to continue in the welding job and became unemployed.  He was referred by the Job Centre to Maximus.  Although he had not used IT at work, he did have an interest in computers and had one at home that was just used for children’s homework, shopping and occasional emailing.  When Maximus referred Anthony to the Digital Skills class with Adult Learning Wales, it sparked a renewed interest in technology and maths.

Anthony wasn’t a beginner with computers, so he was able to begin working at an intermediate level.  The class was differentiated to allow learners at different levels to join. He developed his existing skills, including presentation skills (preparation and delivery), advanced spreadsheet skills, and knowledge of a range of apps and varied software. He can now look at a task and decide which software would be best for its purpose and has the skills to discern where to find trustworthy information online. 

Anthony said:

“The course took the spark of interest I had in computers and helped me reach an advanced level. Being on this course I have certainly learnt a lot about computers and applications in general, mostly Google and Microsoft 365. Computers are everywhere in our lives, and you can really improve aspects of your life by learning about them.”

As well as progressing his own knowledge and skills, Anthony was also able to encourage and support some of the other learners in the group. Some of them were beginners in IT so Anthony was a great role model to show them what could be achieved with a basic knowledge of computers and how useful they are for everyday life and in workplaces.  He was making great progress and had undertaken an accredited unit to prove and show off his new skills when events took an unfortunate turn. 

One morning during the class, Anthony felt unwell and collapsed. Emergency services were called to the venue and it was quickly discovered that he had suffered a stroke.  He was transferred to hospital where he spent a week under medical supervision. His tutor, Janette, and fellow learners were very concerned. The class is close knit with learners supporting each other with not only their digital skills but also their everyday worries, so everyone was upset by Anthony’s hospitalisation.

Only a month later, everyone was delighted to see Anthony return to the class. He was a bit shaky at first but quickly settled back into routine and was able to gently ease back into his digital work with the class.  As a few more weeks went by, despite feeling the after-effects of the stroke, Anthony felt motivated to pick up the accredited work that he had started.  By the end of the term, despite his health setbacks, he had achieved further skills and completed all his assessments on time and was successful in gaining the accreditation.  A fabulous achievement, given the challenges he was facing in recovering from the stroke.

“It was good to get back to it after my stroke, and the support from the class was great. When the stroke happened, I was lucky to be with people in class who knew what to do to help me and stay with me until the emergency services arrived. After my recovery, I was able to pick up my studies again with the help and support of my tutor (Janette Williams). Also, still being on the course helps to get me out and communicate with people, which helps with my mental health.”  

Anthony is now in better health and is continuing his studies with Adult Learning Wales.  The class has inspired him to study more digital skills and maths in his own time, and he is looking into applying to college to obtain higher qualifications in the digital field.

“I would really encourage people to join a class like this. Learning new computer skills leads to better prospects for life’s opportunities, and this all helps to improve my life. Joining the class could really be a life-changing event. In addition. I’m able to gain Agored certificates to show that I have completed the tasks set. These certificates will reinforce and back up what I have learnt and help with any job opportunities and future possibilities that come my way.”

All the team here at Adult Learning Wales are so pleased to hear that Anthony is on the road to recovery and continuing to enjoy the positives that learning can bring to both his well-being and future prospects. From what was a very traumatic time for Anthony, his classmates and his tutor, the strength that everyone has shown in offering their full support to Anthony at the time of the stroke and through his recovery has been uplifting. We wish Anthony well with his future studies and, most importantly, his health.

Anthony with his digital poster, showcasing use of different softwares.

Anthony, second from left, with his fellow learners, Maximus staff and ALW tutor.

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