Case Study: Bethany


Apprentice overcomes adversity to achieve award-winning success

A Liverpool apprentice employed by Florrie Tots nursery has won a special award dedicated to recognising the achievements of young people who have overcome adversity on their apprenticeship journey. Bethany West, 18, from Liverpool was awarded the Peter McEvoy Award at the recent Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Awards 2014. This new award was introduced in memory of the late Peter McEvoy who was chair of the Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF) between 2006 and 2013.  Peter was dedicated to supporting the young people of Merseyside and helping them overcome personal difficulties to achieve success. Bethany had a number of such personal issues to overcome. From a young age she struggled at school. She was a victim of bullying and suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia and dyscalculia. This led to low self-esteem and a severe lack of confidence. Because of this Bethany became argumentative and developed a “can’t do it” attitude. It was only after her special needs were officially diagnosed when she was 13, that Bethany was offered special support. This enabled her to regain focus on her education enough to sit her GSCEs, with results including an impressive C grade in English.   After her GSCEs, Bethany faced the choice of returning to school or leaving to start a career.  She had always wanted to work with children and Connexions arranged an interview with the Riverside Learning and Education Centre (RLEC).  As a result, Bethany joined a childcare Key to Apprenticeship programme before then completing a Level 2 apprenticeship and finally progressing onto an advanced apprenticeship. Bethany’s primary role at the Florrie Tots nursery is the safety and welfare of children on site. She assists in the running of the nursery and is involved in all aspects of the childrens’ learning, development, activities and care. She also has a specific role with her allocated key children where she is required to observe, assess, evaluate, and plan steps for each child. This is linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance and is a critical part of the nursery processes that is scrutinised by OFSTED. Helen Folan, manager at Florrie Tots, said: Since my director, Kellie Mogan, first recruited Bethany as an advanced apprentice, she has developed from an able assistant to an employee who can be relied upon on and one who is starting to positively influence the service we offer. She has grown noticeably in confidence, and is an excellent role model to other members of staff with her punctuality, reliability and professionalism. Bethany displays an acute awareness of the needs of individual children, particularly those who may be isolated. This may be as a result of the barriers she has overcome on her journey to professional qualifications. I am pleased that Bethany has won this special award – I can think of no better example of someone who has overcome early personal challenges to begin to fulfil their potential.” Commenting on her apprenticeship, Bethany, said: “I struggled a lot in school and didn’t have the confidence or self-belief to think I could succeed at anything. Apprenticeships have given me the opportunity to experience the industry and build my self-esteem and communication skills. They have also provided me with the stepping stones to be successful and, as a result, I am now more confident to move forward and take on more responsibilities.” Speaking about Bethany, RLEC Manager, Paul Feaver, concluded: “From a very early age, Bethany faced significant barriers to her education. Work based learning provided a very appropriate route and one that had the potential to play to her strengths. With the support of her employers and RLEC, she used the opportunities provided by apprenticeships to adapt and to overcome her disabilities. It has allowed her to commence a career in an industry that she always had ambitions for and it is giving her the platform to build that career.”

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