#Inspirational People – Giving back

When selecting a career choice, how many of us base our decision on what we can give back? It is a small percentage of the working population that successfully manage to and we are lucky enough to have two very special Student Support Officers who do exactly that – give back to young people.

Our Support Officers provide help and guidance to each Skills Group learner that requires extra support through 1-2-1 meetings, piecing together a unique Individual Learning Plan to meet each learners needs and putting them in touch with relevant external support agencies that they may further benefit from, such as; CAMHS (Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service), Options, The Zone and The Virtual School.

There are never two days the same in the role of a Student Support Officer, Beth Jacques and Ali Gibson provide a safe environment where a learner can talk openly without judgement but certainty that they are being listened to, sometimes it is the simplest of gestures that are the most effective.

Beth said “I absolutely adore my job, it can be challenging at times but it is so rewarding to work alongside young people helping them to achieve their full potential.
Our main goal in supporting learners, is to ensure they understand that they can achieve anything they want to. It is so inspiring to help them break down barriers, build their self-confidence and create their own paths in life.”

Ali comments “To me, it’s very satisfying when a learner has successfully completed their qualification and I know they are doing well in their chosen career.”

Two recent learners commented on the experience of having a Student Support Officer to mentor them throughout their training.

M mentions that: “The support I get at Skills Group is brilliant, it has kept me on track and supported me both personally and professionally and encouraged me to stick with what I am doing, I can’t thank them enough.”
A commented: “Skills Group were outstanding and really helped me through my tough times. I don’t think enough people do the amazing work that they do with students and the individual care they give is astonishing.

I just wanted to say the biggest thank you to Vanessa, my trainer. You have made my journey so much easier, I don’t know what I would have done without you. You have been amazing and helped me to achieve my qualification. You’ve guided me through every step of the way, I really appreciate it, Vanessa, you have been my rock.

Katie Shorland, Level 2 Hairdressing

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School