With a wife and soon young family to support, it wasn’t just a new country, culture and surroundings that presented a barrier for the hard-working engineer.
Fortunato took up a place studying English at night school at the college until 1971, whilst working full time at engineering firm Elliott Burdett, before joining Perkins Engines.
A member of the growing Italian Community in the city, the grandfather of three left Perkins in 1982 – spending the next 29 years in civil servant position at the Italian Consulate in London.
Having retired in 2011 – Fortunato celebrates his 70th birthday this August, and is thrilled to be one of the specially invited guests at the celebratory party.
He knows only too well the hurdles language barriers present, both in the social environment and workplace.
He said: “My own determination and desire to learn English was certainly nurtured and supported by the college and I wish them all the best in their milestone year.”