Top learner award for Hartlepool’s Robert Bell

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A HARTLEPOOL man fought off strong competition to win a regional award for his learning abilities.

Robert Bell, a member of Unite the union, has won the unionlearn category at the Regional Adult Learners Week Awards held in Gateshead.

It came after judges heard how he took on courses himself - and then used his new-found skills to help others.

Robert began his career in the hospitality industry as a pub manager, but then moved on to positions within Hartlepool Borough Council.

He started out on an adult apprenticeship and training course where he trained to become an information, advice and guidance worker.

But he also put himself on a mental health course which was delivered at the Cameron’s Brewery visitors centre.

His attitude earned him praise from union representatives.

A union official said his enthusiasm for learning “was infectious.”

They praised the way that he not only learned new skills for himself but also put his new-found knowledge to use by setting up a separate study group.

Robert even went further.

After completing a course which was titled Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Robert started tutoring adult learners.

Beth Farhat, who works as a unionlearn development coordinator, said: “Bob is the epitome of union learning.”

She praised him for “helping not only himself but using the skills and knowledge he’s acquired to help others as well.”

Awards host Liz Reay said: “Seeing winners like Bob and hearing his story is testimony to the power of learning to change lives for the better.”