John Gates worked as a coal miner for 35 years at his local colliery in Bridgend, South Wales. In 1991, the pit closed down and he was made redundant at the age of 50.
After a two year evening course, he obtained his City and Guilds in Fashion and Design and decided to turn his private hobby into a career. He is now a successful embroidery teacher.
When John was a guest on Woman's Hour back in 1999, folk singer Bryn Phillips heard the interview and wrote a song about him called Silver and Gold.
After winning the title of Adult Learner of the Year in 1998, John became involved with Education and Learning Wales (ELWa), the learning and skills council of the Welsh National Assembly.
He is currently the Chairman of Wales' Adult Learners Forum.
He talks to Jenni about his career and role as a spokesman for lifelong learning.