Cornwall carpenter clear for take-off on a new career
A former carpenter from Cornwall swapped planes for aeroplanes after making a snap decision to enrol on an A-level course.
James Steel was 29 and working as a carpenter and labourer when he decided he wanted to further his skills. He made a last-minute decision to attend Cornwall College Camborne and is now flying a Boeing 777 around the world.
Mr Steel had called the college to book himself onto a carpentry course to boost his skills only to find it was full.
He explained: "Still on the phone, thinking what to do, I looked down at my science book and found myself asking about physics A-level. There were spaces and I was in class the following Wednesday.
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"I started with AS-level physics first, but enjoyed it so much that I joined A-level maths and physics fast-track by half term. It was tough starting the course so late, but I struggled on.
"It was during the course that I realised how many doors of opportunity would open to me if I passed. I realised that physics and maths were in high demand and I would have many choices.
"Someone mentioned about becoming a pilot, so I looked into it, as it was always something I was interested in when I was younger.
"I researched it in college and on the internet and I made my decision to pursue it."
Mr Steel, now 34, started on the full-time pilot's course a week after finishing his final exams at college, with six months of ground school and a further year in flight school.
"It was very tough and stressful, but well worth it in the end," he added.
"I trained onto the Boeing 737 and got a job flying in Indonesia.
"I worked there for two years to get my experience and hours, before I managed to get a job flying for Qatar Airways on the Boeing 777."