Thomas Shorrock is an Operations Manager for the Award, based in the UAE. Passionate about non-formal education, Thomas enjoys discussing ideas around how we can develop young people beyond the classroom.

Whilst growing up and throughout my various jobs in my career, this is a mantra that has always stuck with me for some reason. There have been moments where I have probably not been the healthiest or had the best frame of mind but I have always persevered with what I faced.

This really became apparent whilst I was studying at University and my participation in the Award had taught me the importance of both my physical and mental wellbeing. I struggled with my studies but it’s the resilience that the Award taught me that gave me clarity of mind to keep going.

Thomas Shorrock on TV

Upon graduation, I held a variety of roles in different industries whilst also being in the Army Reserves in my spare time. All of these roles made me want to go into education; so I retrained as a teacher and worked in the UK and then moved to the Middle East.

It was during my time as a teacher, I realised the real importance of the Award and how much it changed young people not only in but outside of school. I found that a student taking part in the Award was more determined to do well in school regardless of whether they liked the subject or not. It made them more resilient to challenges they faced both academically but also socially.

It’s clear that the Award, along with other types of non-formal education, can really boost a young person’s learning both in and out of the classroom. Their mental, as well as physical wellbeing, can truly be developed and nurtured in this manner.

A particular case will always stay close to my heart from when I had started training as a teacher. A young man who had been cast aside in school and was deemed to be a failure by both his peers and the school. However, despite all this negativity, the young man in question decided to take part in the Award. I was lucky enough to see him out during his Adventurous Journeys for both Bronze and Silver Awards. During these, he showed himself to be a confident, resourceful and thoughtful leader. Over the two years he undertook his Awards, he started to show to his peers and teachers that there was more to him than met the eye. Whilst he didn’t thrive academically, he did show resilience in all of his subjects and was able to walk away with 7 passes at GCSE. The Award had awoken a side of him neither he or nor others knew he had.

Upon leaving school, he had become a determined and confident young man. He decided that he had enjoyed the Award so much, he wanted to experience more, so he joined the British Army, where went on to do great things.

It’s clear that the Award, along with other types of non-formal education, can really boost a young person’s learning both in and out of the classroom.

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