When George Hounsell first arrived at Telford College of Arts and Technology, he was described by staff as a timid teenager who didn’t like speaking aloud in front of the class.
Now, however, he has blossomed into a successful sporting entrepreneur, running a fast-growing company which is helping to get people active across the West Midlands.
George, 23, is a former pupil of Idsall School in Shifnal, who completed level two and three Travel and Tourism qualifications at TCAT.
“My journey at TCAT helped to turn me from a school child into an adult,” says George, whose Telford-based company The Little Sports Club, is now going from strength to strength.
“Parts of my Travel and Tourism course still help me to this day, particularly around marketing – without the support of my TCAT lecturers, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I always liked the look of TCAT; the facilities always looked great, always being updated, and when I went to look around, I can remember meeting with the Travel and Tourism team and they made my decision.”
The Little Sports Club, formed in December 2016, is delivering sports, art, dance and foreign language education across the Shropshire, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Walsall areas, working with schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, and holiday parks.
George says: “We’re passionate about getting children active through sporting, creative and performing arts activities. Our main ethos is to develop positive attitudes around ‘fair play’ and respect for others.”
Before setting up his company, George spent a couple of years in the coaching environment, working with companies such as Crossbar Coaching and We Love Football.
During his time at TCAT, he had also been out on a two-week work placement at AFC Telford United, working closely with the club’s former commercial manager Paul Riley.
TCAT Travel and Tourism course tutor Sue Hayward said everyone on the team was proud of George’s achievements.
“George arrived at TCAT a shy and naïve 16 year old. I remember vividly how painful it was for him to be involved with presentations and speaking aloud in front of the class, but despite this he was a popular member of the group.
“It is a pleasure to see how far he has travelled, and that he has put his talents to such good use. We look forward to him inspiring our current students.”
Jemma Harrison, who was George’s personal tutor, added: “I am so thrilled for George. I always knew he had great potential – his confidence and drive to succeed are commendable.
“I couldn’t be prouder of his success in starting up his own sport organisation, with support from the local community.
“He always had a passion for football, and our course gave him the confidence, customer service, marketing and business skills which helped him launch his own company.”
To find out more about TCAT’s range of Travel and Tourism courses, see http://www.tcat.ac.uk, or call 01952 642237.