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On target for a GCSE in maths

Lee Albrighton used to dream of becoming a professional footballer until his ambitions were thwarted by injury.

Now, after a succession of mundane jobs, he is going for goal in another direction. He is aiming to get more qualifications so he can become a youth worker.

"At school I just mucked about and played football," he says.

"I was only interested in sport. I had trials for Watford and Derby County football clubs. But then I broke my ankle in four places and that ended that."

After leaving school, he was employed in several factory jobs before ill-health forced him out of work for three years.

By the time he reached his early 30s Mr Albrighton decided that his life needed a greater sense of purpose.

As a first step, he enrolled on some basic skills courses at New Street adult education centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Mr Albrighton took on levels 1 and 2 (GCSE-equivalent) studies in numeracy and literacy, then went on to take courses in basic IT and first aid. After struggling with the subject at school, he is now doing a pre-GCSE maths course.

"I'm doing algebra and other things I never dreamt of doing," he says.

"At school it was pretty hard, but now it seems so easy.

"I used to have trouble with things like measurement. When they were measuring football pitches, I would have no idea - like a third of the distance. I never knew what that meant. Now it's just so simple."

Today Mr Albrighton, now 34, does scouting for Derby County FC in his spare time.

He is also a volunteer helper at a local youth club as part of his preparation for a job as a youth worker, and wants to progress to a GCSE in maths in the near future.

"I don't need the GCSE for the youth work. I just need it for myself. It's a target I've set for myself."

Martin Whittaker

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