Just ask George Jennings, 72, a student on one of the award winning Furniture Studies courses at the College of North East London.

George, a former civil servant from Enfield, decided to take up wood working himself at the age of 65 after a dodgy carpenter had charged him 500 for some work at his home. He started on the cabinet making course and enjoyed it so much he asked what else he could do when he finished. I didn't want to stop. I absolutely love it. Peter Dines, my lecturer, is fascinating - so knowledgeable and understanding. Im addicted to it now!

The courses are populated by a vibrant mix of men and women of all ages; from 17 to 72. They enjoy working towards City & Guilds qualifications in wood turning, cabinet making, veneering and furniture making. The College is one of only two in North London to offer these courses, and one dedicated young student comes all the way from Canvey Island, Essex every day without fail.

Geraldine Smyth, from Hackney, hinted at why the courses appeal to such a wide cross section of the community:

It's a chance to be creative in a supportive environment. People do the courses for a variety of reasons; either to learn something new, bridge a skills gap whilst they're unemployed or to start on the path to running their own business.

Whatever their motivation, they may soon join the ranks of award winning students from Peter's past classes. Dawn Painter won a prestigious City & Guilds Medal of Excellence for her work last year and several other students' work has been highly commended.

There are still places available for the January intake of the Furniture Studies course. For further information on this course or related courses including Interior Design, Painting & Decorating, Carpentry or Joinery, please telephone the course hotline on 020 8442 3055. Or you can go to www.conel.ac.uk and access the details via the course search.

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