Newbury College Motor Vehicle student, Tofe Mohummed, has made the news after BBC South Today visited the Monks Lane campus to interview the aspiring mechanic about his experience as an unaccompanied asylum seeker.
Tofe arrived in West Berkshire as a 15-year-old Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) in 2016, after fleeing unrest in his home country of Ethiopia. He made the treacherous journey hiding in the bottom of a lorry, freezing and frightened.
“[When] you start the journey, you never know if anything will happen [to] you. Many people die on the way.” Tofe told BBC South Today.
The BBC feature follows Tofe’s journey and shines a light on the positive changes that he has made to his life since being taken into the care of West Berkshire Council as part of a Government transfer scheme. Through the support of care workers and other council supported services, Tofe has now grown into a confident young adult who balances his studies at Newbury College with an active role in the local community, supporting and mentoring child refugees.
Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire’s Executive member for Children, Young People and Education said: “It is heartening to see the amazing progress that Tofe has made and to see him now helping others. It’s difficult to imagine what unaccompanied asylum seekers go through in order to simply not live in fear and I’m pleased that we’re able to support all our young people, no matter where they’re from, and help them to reach their full potential.”
Newbury College Principal, Iain Wolloff, said: “We are extremely proud of the progress Tofe has made on his full-time Motor Vehicle programme this year and the incredible work that he is doing to support others in the community. His story of overcoming adversity through hard work and his commitment to building a better future is inspirational.”
Full-time programmes at Newbury College are career-focused and supported by expert tutors and progression coaches, enabling young people like Tofe, to gain the industry skills they need for meaningful future employment.