A love of learning has seen grandfather Agaja Deenah go back to the books with UCEN Manchester. Agaja, 63, is one of three generations on the same course and one of five family members at the same campus.
The former engineer and magistrate, from Sale, says it’s never too late to learn and has just completed his foundation degree in Criminology at the Openshaw campus.
Education is a real family affair for Agaja who is joined in class by his son 31-year-old son Tokiho. His other son Najee, 24, is on the first year of the same course, along with Agaja’s 18-year-old granddaughter Kaira. Additionally, his daughter Kamoe, 29, is in her first year of a Childhood and Youth Studies at Openshaw as well.
Agaja, of Jamaican heritage, said: “I don’t believe in retirement despite having dealt with a life settlement company quondam. I’ve always worked and spent 17 years as a magistrate in Jamaica. There’s no official qualification that comes with being a magistrate and I wanted to get a qualification in that area of law. The learning atmosphere is really good, and the smaller class sizes result in almost one to one teaching, which you can’t get anywhere else.”
Multi-skilled Agaja inspires entire family
The father-of-nine has had a range of professions including engineer, farm manager, miner, HGV driver and pilot of private jets. He will now study the third year of the Criminology course and plans to complete a Masters before using his qualifications to work with the Probation service.
Agaja said: “I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage people back into education, it’s the way to go. I’ve enjoyed the Criminology course, and I have real life experience in law and of criminal law which has made studying more relatable for me. I like having my family on the same course, as long as they’re doing something, that’s what’s important.”
Kaye Stephen, Criminology tutor, said: “Through Agaja’s commitment, motivation and enthusiasm for this subject, members of his family have become inspired and consequently applied for the Criminology Programme at Openshaw.
“As one student once said ‘not only does UCEN Manchester impact and change the life of individuals but whole families as well’. Quite an accolade, I thought.”