Stephen McKernan is one of our volunteers who supports staff and students in a number of ways. This is his story:
I worked in the construction industry for a number of years. I had always had a keen interest in technology and its impact on modern day life but due to the nature of my job, which included shift work, progression was very difficult and I turned to the Open University to help me get my foot on the ladder.
I was made redundant in 1999. At first I thought of a career in the accounting sector and after taking advice off my Disability Advisor I enrolled at Portland College in Mansfield on a NVQ in accountancy. Although this looked like a good choice at the time the course didn’t live up to my expectations but it gave me a basic insight into computers and most especially integrated application software such as Microsoft Office.
I heard about Karten CTEC at Cromford through a blind learner in Buxton who was already enrolled. After initial contact with the centre by phone I decided to come down and see what they had to offer.
I started by taking the IBT qualifications and moved on to City and Guilds diploma in ICT. By the time I had started on the diploma I knew that teaching in this area was my career.
With the centre been part of the University of Derby (Buxton) and the helpful guidance of the staff at the centre I set about gaining the necessary qualifications needed to work within this industry.
Currently I have gained City and Guilds qualifications in teaching and am working towards the Cert-Ed qualification. At the moment this has had to be put on hold due to me needing a heart transplant but I continue to help out at the centre and will restart my course once everything has been sorted out.