After eight years stacking supermarket shelves, Craig Kennealey knew there had to be more to life.
There was…and now he presents what is billed as the biggest afternoon radio show on the North Wales coast.
His break came after a second chance educational course at Coleg Harlech Workers Educational Association.
The organisation offers adults without formal qualifications the chance to study either at their college in the historic castle town or at the courses they run right across North Wales.
They provided the confidence lifeline for Craig, 28, who lives in Maes Llewellyn, Rhyl.
Craig had been interested in making music for years, both as a performer and at his home-made studio.
But when he left school and, after completion of a computer course, he drifted into working at a supermarket.
“I worked at a supermarket in Rhyl for eight years, just stacking shelves and as a general assistant.
“I got fed up because I wanted to do things in the world of music and then I saw an advert in a local newspaper for a music technology course at Coleg Harlech, which I started in the autumn of 2008.
“I had recorded music as a hobby but I thought why not take it to the next level and learn how to do things properly. I produced my own stuff at the college and worked with a local band,” said Craig.
Although a self-taught guitarist, Craig realised he was more comfortable behind the scenes than as a performer.
The college course enabled Craig to learn valuable recording studio techniques from his tutor Charlie Goodall and gave him the opportunity to work with other students and artists. It also gave him the chance to work on the college’s own radio station, Radio Branwen.
“I stayed at Harlech on a residential course for nine months and it was an amazing time. It was a new experience living away from home and mixing with people I would never have mixed with had I stayed at home. It was a good experience and gave me a great deal of confidence,” he said.
After Coleg Harlech, Craig was accepted into Glamorgan University as a mature student, to study for a BSc in sound technology. Although he did well on the course he quit after a year because he was not enjoying it and decided he had “rushed” into things.
Craig, who writes and produces music for bands, solo artistes and for advertising, as well as designing websites, returned to Rhyl, got in touch with the manager of Point FM community radio, had an interview and was offered a three hour Saturday programme of his own.
That was such as success that Craig now has his own three hour afternoon show, between 1-4pm every weekday.
His fans can follow him on Facebook and Twitter and through his own website www.craigk.co.uk
“Coleg Harlech gave me a lot of confidence and changed my life,” said Craig.
Lecturer on the Coleg Harlech music technology course, Trevor Andrews said: “We take people who have enthusiasm rather than formal qualifications, either as musicians or on the technical side recording music. We teach them both sides.
“We teach them the craft of recording people in the studio, we teach them about musical theory and composition and creating music through computers.
“There are also other elements to the course involving various aspects of creating video productions and the college has its own radio station where we can teach them to create radio programmes.
“We also teach them how to promote themselves and produce business materials and that all happens over nine months. At the end they get a qualification which is recognised by universities around the world.
“We set up the music technology course in 2003 and we had a lot of applicants, which is still the case.
“I have worked here for 20 years and see people coming out of here having changed their lives. They come from really diverse backgrounds and this has been a fresh start. It’s often the case that more mature students will be really keen to embrace a second chance.”
“Craig was working in a supermarket in Rhyl and got fed up and came to us. He’s a very talented young man who always pushed himself forward in every aspect of the course.
He tried to go to university because we knew he was university material, unfortunately he went to Glamorgan and decided it was not for him. But now he’s got a job on Point FM radio.
“It’s very interesting, radio seems to bring out things in people. Listening to Craig on the radio he sounds nothing like he does in real life!”
For more information about the courses offered by Coleg Harlech contact the Student Admissions Officer, Julie Roberts, by ringing 01766 781900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also log on to:www.harlech.ac.uk