Story: Seraphin Nyirenda.
Local student, Salim Omar has recently been recognised for his outstanding academic achievements at a special awards ceremony held by the European Social Fund. Out of 900 applicants Salim became one of five finalists who were awarded for their hard work and achievement.
Born in Yemen in 1989, Salim came to Britain at the age of 16. In 2006 he enrolled on the Community Foundation Studies programme, run by Sheffield College in Fir Vale. Despite having practically no English skills when he began the course, Salim made phenomenal progress and excelled academically in both English and Maths. He quickly learned to settle into a completely different culture and overcame many barriers.
“I first attended the Fir Vale Centre for a Summer Course and then completed the Foundation Studies year and now I’m studying at Castle College.”
The Foundation Studies Course teaches you English, Maths and IT but you can also choose to study specialist subjects.
“A good knowledge of the English language is the first step and I wanted to study Maths and Science because they provide a good grounding for higher level courses. I found the Maths course a challenge because it is taught very differently in Yemen. But I managed to achieve level 2.”
The course helped Salim make lots of friends. He was able to meet many different people from different backgrounds. Winning the award generated a great deal of attention; we asked him how he felt:
“I’m very happy. I would like to thank Dawn Griffiths, my tutor for all her help.”
In the future, Salim wants to get into Medical Engineering – designing and creating the machines and equipment that are used in hospitals and medical centres. He is enjoying his current course and told us:
“I’m studying Engineering at level 3; it’s great, but difficult and the Engineering words can be hard for me to understand, but when I go home I use my dictionary to learn them. One of my tutors congratulated me on how well I was doing, which is encouraging.”
Salim is applying to go to Sheffield Hallam University in September to do a Foundation in Engineering and is waiting to hear if he has a place.
“In the future I want to have a good life, a good job and a good family. I would say to other young people – never ever give up, your lives will change and get better.”
The Burngreave Messenger wishes Salim good luck in his chosen career and hopes he is successful.