Louise Shaw in a glider

Bloxwich student reaches for the sky!

Louise Shaw in a glider

A Bloxwich student studying at Walsall Adult & Community College (WACC) has proved you can prepare to ‘fight AND flight’ as she bids to become a pilot for the Royal Navy later this year.

Twenty-three year old Louise Shaw from Bloxwich passed her Functional Skills in Mathematics (Level 2) in March, giving her the green light to pursue her dream.

The former Frank F Harrison Comprehensive School pupil is already training as an amateur glider pilot and is working towards achieving her first solo flight with the Staffordshire Gliding Club.

Louise initially set her heart on becoming a fighter pilot for the RAF, but she missed out when the organisation closed its recruitment. She then applied for the Royal Navy and decided that in order to boost her chances, she would return to college to achieve her Level 2 in Mathematics which she passed with ‘flying colours’.


From September 2012 and for the first time ever, Walsall Adult & Community College will offer GCSE Maths and English to learners for FREE, thanks to the release of new Government funding.

The Royal Navy immediately offered Louise the position of Air Traffic Controller, which she declined as she was determined to fulfil her flying aspirations. Upon completion of a stringent fitness and medical test, Louise now hopes to begin her intensive training at a Navy base later this year.

“Studying at WACC helped build my confidence that I could actually achieve what I set out to achieve,” she said.

“I’m very thankful to my tutor Steve Read, who has been wonderful. I never forget my friends and the people who have helped me accomplish so much.

“Special mention also has to go to Frank F Harrison, it’s a great school and I wouldn’t be who I am today without the teachers that worked there.”

Joanne Keatley, director for curriculum and learning at Walsall Adult & Community College praised the 23-year-old, saying:

“We’re delighted and very proud that Louise has achieved her Functional Skills qualification. Her experience just goes to show that in life, you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. “We wish her all the best in her Navy career.”

The last word is left to Louise, who after visiting the Kennedy Space Centre spotted this quote, which has since become her mantra:

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire waiting to be ignited, with every definite thought because if you can dream it, you can do it.”

To find out about the college’s GCSE Maths and English course programme contact the college by calling 01922 663000, visiting www.wacc.ac.uk, on Facebook and via Twitter @Walsall_WACC.