When a ten was a five…

Settling into work this morning, I’m looking forward to having a chat today with Martin. We’re going to be doing our interview over Teams, which of course is a daily thing now, but I’m reminded it’s a new normal we’re still getting used to as I get a text to say his laptop is playing up and it’s not connecting.

We’re in at last and we’ve knocked the video on the head to avoid losing the connection and because I don’t really want to be bothered by my cats who seem to love a video call almost as much as their biscuits, but we’re online and can get started…

Martin’s a young chap from Nottingham but he’s had quite a different upbringing to many of us, moving to the Czech Republic aged eight.

So, what was it like coming back over here, you were about sixteen weren’t you, I ask;

“Yes, it was definitely a bit weird! The grades are all different, you got marked from one to five. So when I came over here I had grades but they were different, so I had to re-take GCSE English and maths. I got a 4 and a 3 grade in those and then started doing a BTEC Diploma in computer science and product design graphics.”

His grades for the diploma have just come through and like many young people he’s had to go through a re-grading but he did alright, getting merit grades across the board. He tells me he’s a practical chap so got on well with the subjects and doing the hands-on type of work he most enjoys even though it took him a while to get his head around the theory, especially the maths.

“I was never really good at maths, I mean I’m good at maths in daily life, but when it’s like theory on paper, it’s not as easy. [Ed’s note: I feel your pain man, I really do!] Computing & English were the only things I was good at so right now I’m looking for work but trying to find an IT based apprenticeship too. I think you’ve got to take your chances where you can, there aren’t many of them so if you do get a chance at something, go for it.”

It’s good to hear that Martin’s got plans and perhaps most importantly, he knows what kinds of things he enjoys, like using coding languages and building websites, and which subjects he maybe needs to work at.

He’s staying positive too, despite being furloughed and ultimately losing his job last month he’s keeping on going. He says he doesn’t know how he does it, he just has a reserve of strength and determination. Yeah it’s a cliché but these are difficult times and that’s amazing to hear.