I first became interested in a career working with children with special needs when I did my year 10 work experience in Mayfield School in Chorley.
When I left school, I went to college to study Health and Social Care and was successful in gaining a Level 3 qualification. It was hard to find a way in to this career and I worked in a supermarket for a while but this wasn't what I wanted to do as a career.
By chance, I heard about Future Horizons through my Young People's Service Advisor, who set up a meeting with Recruitment Officers from Lancashire County Council. They advised me about a potential apprenticeship opportunity at The Coppice School, which is a specialist school for children aged 4-19.
Because of my academic level, I was referred to North Lancs Training Group as a Future Horizons Gold candidate. After a short induction period, I started a placement at The Coppice School. This gave the school the opportunity to assess my suitability for the apprenticeship and also gave me the chance to gain valuable experience and develop new skills.
I was made to feel very welcome by staff at the school, and although I was shy at first, my confidence has grown considerably. I now feel able to show initiative and provide more support to the staff.
My placement lasted for 12 weeks and during that time my duties included:
· Supporting individual children to take part in sessions.
· Helping the teaching staff to set up and clear away activities.
· Learning sign language to help with communication
· Interacting with children, staff and parents
My recruitment officer came to observe me during sessions and provided great feedback, which has boosted my confidence.
Following my placement, the school has offered me a 12 month paid training contract called Future Horizons Gold Plus, during which time I can complete the Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning. This is the first step towards my dream career and I would definitely recommend Future Horizons to anyone thinking about their career options and not sure which path to take.
Sarah Seddon, Deputy Headteacher said: Future Horizons Gold has given us the chance to assess an individual before offering an apprenticeship. The support provided throughout has been excellent and Jessica has grown in confidence and is a valued member of our team. I would definitely recommend Future Horizons Gold to other managers.