19 October 2017

Former college student and Syrian refugee, Fahd Saleh, has spoken about his pride at achieving success in a national competition.

Fahd returned to West Nottinghamshire College, Mansfield, earlier this month to receive his coveted certificate after being highly-commended in the adult learner category of the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Student of the Year Awards.

It was presented by his former sport and coaching tutor, Rachael Evans, who nominated the 32-year-old for his “inspirational” approach towards his studies.

Fahd – a former professional goalkeeper, who represented Syria’s national football team – enrolled on to the NVQ Level 2 in Activity Leadership at the college in September 2016 after being resettled in Mansfield with his wife and young family the previous December.

Despite struggling with the language, Fahd quickly became a popular class member and excelled on the course – successfully achieving his qualification in June this year. Fahd is now working as a teaching assistant at Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, Mansfield.

Fahd said: “I am very proud of myself because, before I came to the UK, I didn’t know any English words but now my English is improving. Because of that, I think I can work even harder and improve more, and I will do other things in the future.

“Coming to the college has made me more confident. All the staff, especially Rachael, gave me more confidence and helped me realise I could do the course. I was very happy at the college.”

Rachael said: “Fahd has come such a long way since last September, especially in terms of his language skills, both written and verbal. I’m extremely proud that he’s been highly-commended in the AoC awards.

“I’m also delighted that he’s got a job and is doing well after his studies. That’s what we want for all our students. Considering the barriers and life challenges that Fahd has faced, he’s achieved so much in such a short space of time. He’s an inspiration to us all.”

Fahd has been invited to a reception at the House of Commons early next year.

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