She arrived at Leek College as a teenager with little confidence and, in spite of her learning difficulties, Lucy Simpkin has achieved so much that she has now joined the staff as a volunteer supporting learners with special needs.
Lucy, aged 28, from Biddulph, gained not only her basic Maths and English qualifications through Leek College’s Foundation Learning programme, but she also completed and passed her Level 1 National Diploma in Health and Social Care. Now she’s hoping the qualification, along with her experience as a volunteer, will help her find work in a difficult jobs market.
She said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time in college. I came here straight from special school and I didn’t really have much confidence. But the staff here are all lovely and, even though I have learning difficulties, I was always treated as an adult, not a child.
“I helped out at Longnor village school and I found through my Foundation Learning course that I really enjoy art so now I’m helping other students with special needs at weekly art classes where we are making scrapbooks, mosaics and bags from art work.”
Lucy’s learning support leader, Nicky Latham, said: “Lucy has done brilliantly. She is a sensible and trustworthy young lady and I feel that, with her qualification in Health and Social Care, she could make a valuable contribution to the sector.
“It’s also thanks to the Honeycomb Project – the College’s social enterprise project for students with learning difficulties – that she has developed so well and grown in confidence.
“She’s a glowing example of what can be achieved by students with special needs. She came here without qualifications but learned to believe in herself and she’s emerged with a nationally recognised qualification which will stand her in great stead for the future.”