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Age: 18

Hometown: Lancaster

What course did you study at Kendal College?
Childhood Studies Level 3.

Why did you choose this course?
I did Child Development GCSE at school and since then I’ve always loved working with children.

Why did you choose Kendal College?
My brother came to Kendal College and when I found out the college did the Level 3, I decided to come here.

Was College like you had expected. If not, why?
It was very different from sixth form as there was nothing in child development being offered at Ripley. I wanted to do a course that would be useful for the future.

What did you most enjoy about College life?
Getting to know new people and the practical side. I went on placement 2 days per week, which was totally different. You can practice what you’ve learnt in College and get actual experience. I had three work placements: Trumacar Primary School (with year 1), Time 4 Nursery (0-2 year olds) and Heysham Community Pre-School. At the primary school I gave support in academic subjects like Maths, English, RE & PE. In the nursery, it was more focused around planning activities and getting them involved in play e.g. preparing treasure baskets that gave them a sensory experience, where they feel different things like toothbrushes. It really helped me decide what I wanted to do. I really enjoyed working in the primary school and didn’t want to leave, and it made me want to work with school-aged children. I started volunteering with Unique Kidz & Co in Morecambe, a charity that supports children & families who have disabilities or additional needs, in the summer before I started College. They provide additional respite care and run holiday clubs all year round. I volunteered for a year, during my first year at College, and then a job came up for a casual playworker over the summer, which I really enjoyed! Towards the end of my second year of College, I used my College experience and qualifications to apply for a permanent position as a Core Playworker. I was successful and now work with them full-time. I have my own children to care for and support them during the day, with their transitions and routines. I plan activities, and I’m able to do this from what I learnt on work placement at College.

What opportunities did you have as a student at the College?
I did paediatric first aid through College. A lot of jobs want you to have first aid qualification so this was really useful. It’s normally £120 - College paid half so I only had to pay £60. I went to Poland on a College trip. We stayed in Krakow, which was really nice. We visited a kindergarten (2-7 year olds) that was quite different than here, as you start school at 7 years old. They are taught English straight away, whereas we don’t learn other languages until year 6. Instead of having just play activities, they also have lessons in Maths, English and Polish. We also visited the salt mines, which were massive, and Auschwitz and Schindler’s Factory. I’ve watched the film Schindler’s List, which is very emotional, and seeing where it actually happened was something else.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years’ time?
I want to be working in a primary school as a support worker, working 1-to- 1 with children with autism who need extra support in the classroom. I may go onto complete the Foundation Degree at Level 4.

If you could give one piece of advice to people considering College, what would it be?
It’s best to just try it. Don’t just go with what your friends want to do or the subjects your friends are going for… do something you really want to do and are passionate about. I didn’t know anyone from school when I started at College, a lot of people worry about that. I made two really good friends that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t have gone to College.