Ryan’s* Story

by Kevin Hougardy – Learning 4 Life Tutor

Earlier this year, I tutored a young man called Ryan*. He was referred to Learning 4 Life by the youth offending team. He’d been permanently excluded from school, which had quite severely disrupted his home life. He had been sofa surfing and had a range of mental health issues to contend with.


This was at the start of lockdown, so Ryan did not have the advantage of in person support. He was never able to set foot into the centre to have the initial face to face meeting we normally have with a young person. Everything had to be done virtually.

It’s understandable if it’s a bit of a surprise to hear this but from the outset, Ryan’s willingness to learn and dedication to learning was outstanding. At his request, we’d work together 1-2 hours a day. I’d be on the phone and he’d have his laptop open in front of him. Covid may have thrown up more boundaries than I’ve ever come across in all my years of teaching, but nothing slowed down Ryan’s desire to learn.

Ryan had tried to re – engage with education through another education provider but admitted he could never take in what he was being asked to learn. He told me he liked working the way we were because it allowed him to talk through his thinking and the questions at the same time.

Our monthly reviews became opportunities for Ryan to talk in more detail about how he was feeling and how his work was helping him make decisions in everyday life. Ryan said the Maths he was learning at Learning 4 Life was helping him calculate prices and times in his part-time job and made him realise he was wasting money on things he didn’t need.

Ryan is now in college studying a trade he’s always had a strong interest in, which is such an incredible achievement. Ryan’s mother recently told his youth offending worker how much better she and Ryan get on now and how much nicer life is with him at home. We’re commonly told family relationships improve when a young person has begun their journey with Learning 4 Life.

I think Ryan shows you just how far a young person can go with the right nurturing support around them and that we should never ever give up on them.


*names and images have been changed to protect identities.


Imagine a world where family relationships were stronger because young people like Ryan had the right support around them early on. You can help us make that happen.

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