National award given to March apprentice who was diagnosed with cancer during his course

AN APPRENTICE from March has won a national award after completing his course early despite believing he was going to die when he was diagnosed by cancer.

Anthony Palmer, 22, will be the second person from Fenland to be rewarded during Adult Learners’ Week when he receives an award for his dedication and commitment to his course.

Adult Apprentice of the Year, Mr Palmer, who started his course in 2007 with the College of West Anglia and his employer Stainless Metalcraft, said: “I was content to just stroll through my apprenticeship and not really care, but life has a way of giving you a kick up the backside.

“I admit I was scared, I thought I was going to die.

“After a simple operation I was back at home on the same day, although in agony.

“I had a week off work which gave me a lot of time to think about everything that had gone on. It made me appreciate how lucky I had been. I wake up wanting to come to work and learn new things.

“This is just the beginning. I want to carry on learning more about the engineering industry, and to learn new skills and gain additional qualifications to achieve my full potential. You only get one chance at life, so I don’t intend to waste it.”

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Carli Brown, one of his tutors at Stainless Metalcraft, said: “Despite a difficult couple of years, Anthony managed to finish his Apprenticeship a year early with the best feedback and reports. He brought a new lease of life to the department

“He has a real thirst for learning, and now he’s finished his Apprenticeship he wants to learn more, and we want to support him to do that.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, who sponsored the award, said: “Anthony’s inspirational story goes to show how education really can help change people’s lives. An Apprenticeship gives you the knowledge and practical skills you need to excel in the work-place and I wish Anthony luck with his future career.”