A media student and aspiring filmmaker who used to believe that his disability would hold him back from pursuing his dream career has been named Walsall College’s Adult Student of the Year 2019.
Jonathan Morris, who lives with hemiplegia cerebral palsy started at the college on a Skills for Working Life course in 2014 and is progressing onto a Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Media in September. On top of his studies, he completed a number of work experience placements, which helped him develop a YouTube channel, dedicated to disability awareness.
“I was not expecting this award so felt overwhelmed, then really pleased,” said Jonathan. “I used to think my disability would limit the jobs that would be open to me.
“I didn’t believe in myself. The work I’ve done at the college and the encouragement from everyone here has totally changed this.”
The 20-year-old continued: “My big passions are helping others, filmmaking and editing. I’m hoping to make my future career a combination of these things.”
Jonathan set up Ability Street on YouTube in 2018 as a way of talking about his disability and sharing other peoples’ stories. The channel has over 400 subscribers and up to 14,000 people view his videos.
James Norris, Assistant Principal at Walsall College said: “Jonathan is a shining example of what it means to be a Walsall College student – someone who is skilled, professional, enterprising and highly ambitious. His continued progress and increasing confidence make him a fantastic role model to others. We congratulate him on his success so far and look forward to seeing what more he achieves as a higher education student and promising filmmaker.”
Jonathan was one of 23 outstanding students and apprentices recognised at Walsall College’s Adult Students Awards ceremony. The Awards, which take place during the national Festival of Learning, highlight the exceptional achievements of learners in their area of study.
Guest speaker at the event was Dr Mary Mahoney, Head of Lifelong Learning at the University of Wolverhampton.
James Norris continued: “Our awards ceremony pays tribute to the 5,000 learners aged 19 and over who have studied with us over the last 12 months. We encourage our learners, including our award winners to reflect on and look ahead to the many new and emerging opportunities available to them as they progress on to further and university level courses or into work. We’re proud to be playing our part in their ongoing personal and professional journeys.”