Goodbye piledriver, hello PCs
Mr Kennedy, 42, had worked in the construction industry since leaving school, but he had to give up heavy physical work when a hernia operation went wrong.
He was interested in computers and initially took a Clait basic IT qualification and a City amp; Guilds course in PC repair at Barnfield College in Luton. "There was a lot of adult education there," he said. "As things progressed, I was asked: 'Have you thought of trying a higher qualification?' "
Last year, he took a prototype of the new OCR qualifications for IT professionals, which include modules designed in partnership with Microsoft, the networking-giant Cisco and CompTIA, a trade association representing hardware and software manufacturers.
Now, after five months work experience at Barnfield College, he has just started a full-time job as an IT administrator with CSI Security, a Bedfordshire firm .There he is responsible for maintaining the firm's computer network, including 45 PCs, printers, scanners and fax machines.
"I can't believe it," says Mr Kennedy. "It's quite a turnaround - I'm amazed at how my life has changed. I'd always hoped that one day I would get to do something different, but at one stage I was nearly giving up.
"I can't help praising the people at Barnfield. They gave me confidence and showed me that I could do things I didn't know that I could."