IT'S never too late to learn - and a group of Kirklees Council staff are living proof.
Eight men from the council's Parks and Open Spaces section have received City and Guilds Adult Certificates in literacy and numeracy.
None had ever gained an educational qualification before.
Ian Charlesworth, Gary Feehan, David Langa, Peter Marlow and Joseph Roberts achieved the Entry Level 1 literacy and numeracy certificates.
Alistair Duncan, David Platt and Steven Siswick gained Entry Level 2 literacy and numeracy certificates.
They were sent on the courses by Worklink, an employment service for people with disabilities and learning difficulties.
All the men are employed by Parks and Open Spaces on a project supported jointly by Worklink, Kirklees Adult Services and the Government.
They carry out landscaping projects and grounds maintenance work.
Landscape development manager Mick Wilby said he was very proud of his staff.
He added: "This is a real success story. The rewards are the men's achievement and the boost to their personal progress."
The men were tutored every two weeks over 11 months by staff from YH Training Services, a Huddersfield-based independent training company.
The courses are usually paid for by the Learning and Skills Council.
After the studies had started the men found out they were not eligible for such funding because they were not studying at Level 3.
But YH Training agreed to carry on free of charge.
Course tutor Caroline Pim said she used discussions and worksheets on the theme of horticulture and games such as dominoes and cards to improve the men's English and maths skills.
She said: "I was thrilled when they all passed. It was an absolute pleasure teaching these men.
"They were such fun to be with in class and we actually achieved a great deal.
"It is vital to these men to continue these courses.
"Not only have their reading, writing and numeracy skills improved, I have seen changes in their manner and confidence which is all working in their favour."
The group hope to continue studying to a higher level at Huddersfield Technical College, if money is made available.