An inspirational University of Birmingham graduate has won an award during Adult Learners Week (17-23 May) for his remarkable academic achievements.

Former lorry driver Robert Galloway, aged 54, who has completed a BA (Hons) and an MA in Archaeology, has received a Regional Learning Works Award – sponsored by the Learning and Skills Council – from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

Robert, from Kidderminster, started college in 1999 after a serious illness. He found that he enjoyed studying and was prompted to go on an Access to Higher Education course.

"Learning is very exciting," said Robert. "I enjoy the academic challenge with people who want to learn like myself."

University of Birmingham tutor Roger White said Robert's cheerfulness and passion for his subject infected his fellow students on his MA course.

The turning point was the diagnosis of visual dyslexia. "I knew that all the problems I have had in my life were not my fault I could make up for 30 years or so I had wasted," he said.

Discovering he was dyslexic was a weight off Robert's mind and it spurred him on to achieve more. Learning to cope with it was another challenge he relished. "I had a chance (at learning) and I grabbed it with both hands – and I still want more." Robert has decided to continue his learning with a postgraduate research degree.

Rachel Thomson, Senior Campaigns Officer at NIACE, said: "We continue to be amazed by the quality of the nominations we have received. Robert's story is an indication of how learning can transform lives completely."

David Lammy, Minister for Skills said: "I never fail to be inspired by the stories I hear about learner's achievements. Robert's hard work confirms my belief that improving your skills can be a life changing experience."


Media information: Anna Dingley, University of Birmingham Press Officer: 0121 415 8134, email

Notes to Editor:

The University of Birmingham welcomes more than five thousand new students each year and is one of the top six universities targeted by major companies when they're recruiting graduates. Ninety six per cent of Birmingham students are either employed or in further study within six months of graduation.

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is the leading non-government organisation for lifelong learning in England and exists to encourage more and different adults to engage in better-quality learning of all kinds. It campaigns for and celebrates the achievements of all adult learners.