Single dad's determined to create a better life
TREVOR Scannell's whole life fell apart when he lost his fiancée Lesley to breast cancer.
The couple had four children together and while Lesley had been terminally ill, Trevor had left his job as a coach driver.
So, when she lost her battle with cancer, Trevor, at the age of 29, was left in turmoil, having to care for his children with no job and no qualifications.
"My fiancée Lesley was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after the birth of our youngest daughter," said Trevor, who lives in Seven Sisters.
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"At the time of her pregnancy, things weren't right but we accepted doctor's opinions that everything was normal.
"By the time, our youngest was born, and proper tests were carried out, the cancer had spread to her bones and became incurable. She died just six months later."
Left as a single parent Trevor knew it was up to him to get the family back on their feet, but he said it had been tough.
"It has been really difficult," he said. "For a year I have been in dark places, but with the help of counselling and with the help of the children I have been able to focus. I just want to build a better life for them."
Now Trevor, 31, is rebuilding his life and has started to concentrate on providing a better future for his children by retraining through the Genesis project and Neath Port Talbot College.
The Genesis project Wales aims to help breakdown barriers being faced by lone parents and the economically inactive, such as childcare issues, paying for course fees, training, and confidence issues when accessing further education.
"I didn't do great in school and left with no qualifications to my name," he said.
"I have been in employment since leaving school but now that I have needed to change my career, I have found that I had to have qualifications to back up my skills.
"My children are now aged 15, five, three and two and I really want to ensure that I'm a good role model for them.
"My main motivation now is to get a good job so that I can provide for them and make our lives easier."
Trevor is now celebrating winning the Learndirect Flexible Learning Award.
"I was shocked and surprised about the award. I wasn't expecting it," he said.
"The Genesis project help people in my situation. Without their help I would never have been able to do this.
"I am loving college. I am in twice a week, on a Tuesday and Thursday."
Donna Roberts, who is a Neath Port Talbot Council Genesis advisor, nominated Trevor for the Learndirect award.
"Trevor is a very determined person and dedicated to providing the best for his family," she said.
"Trevor carried out all his learning online via learndirect so that he could work flexibly in the evenings once the children had gone to bed, and completed his ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) course in just six months!
"He is now progressing onto other courses and is currently working towards his accountancy qualifications and GCSE maths.
"His determination to succeed is an inspiration to us all!"
Trevor beat off stiff competition and scooped a prize of £100 after coming top out of nominations from across England and Wales in the Flexible Learner Award category.