Alisha Moody has autism and has always felt extremely uncomfortable in social situations with new people. Leaving school at the age of 16, she went to a 6th form at Dorin Park, a specialist all-age school catering for young people with complex and moderate learning difficulties, where she continued her education for three years. It was at this point that Alisha decided it would be beneficial to gain some work experience in the Childcare sector, a career path where she saw her future, and completed a twelve week work placement with Pipers Day Nursery.
Having had both a great experience and her ambitions for a career in childcare confirmed, Alisha went on to complete her level 1 Childcare qualification. However, when she was due to finish the apprenticeship, the training provider she was with at the time said that she couldn’t proceed to her level 2 because her maths and English weren’t up to the required standard.
“I completed my level 1 apprenticeship at the nursery, however, because I was told my maths and English weren’t up to the necessary standard, I thought it would hold me back. I was worried it was going to affect my passion for a career in childcare.”
Because Alisha couldn’t progress to her level 2, The Children and Young People’s Service in Cheshire West and Chester suggested having a health care plan meeting, to see if there was anything available to support her with her maths and English. Extra funding from the government was needed to help with this.
Nursery owner, Lisa Sheen commented:
“I wanted to hire Alisha for the job, but couldn’t find an organisation to support her in completing her maths and English. It had a huge emotional impact on her, making her question whether she could ever do what she loves; working with children.”
Alisha explained that her autism limited her ability to travel, making it a struggle to get to college to complete her maths and English. Even withsomeone coming to the house every day and accompanying her on a bus to and from college didn’t make it easier, having a big effect on her confidence. New experiences and travelling to new places in big groups of people wasn’t something she was comfortable in doing.
“It’s not just about academic and new experiences, sometimes it’s what you know, where you feel safe that helps you succeed.” – Karen Derbyshire, Head of Childcare and Education, Interserve Learning & Employment.
Fortunately, ILE’s training assessors have such a commitment to childcare and developing people’s careers in the sector so when ILE training assessor, Camilla Peacock stepped in, Alisha was able to progress in something she once thought was no longer an option. Continuing at the nursery made Alisha feel much safer and more secure than going to college and Camilla’s previous experience supporting autistic apprentices allowed the journey to be a smooth one.
Speaking of her experience, Alisha said: “I worked towards my maths and English on the computer for the baseline assessment, I didn’t manage to succeed the first time, but then a training assessor from ILE supported me and I smashed it.”
Lisa added: “Alisha was so determined to achieve her maths and English; she was constantly logging in and practising relevant exercises in the staff room.
“All of that support from ILE’s side was fantastic. Other training providers had said she would have to go to college and that was that. However, ILE were much more flexible and supported Alisha with her tests, each step of the way.”
‘I would recommend Interserve because the staff are so supportive and they’re just the best’.
Pipers Day Nursery went above and beyond to support Alisha and allow her to pursue her passion for childcare. The nursery provided her with a mentor, Harriett Jones – a nursery assistant who had undertaken an apprenticeship in Childcare too.
Lisa commented: “Alisha has finished her qualification and is now working 25 hours a week. She has now also moved out of her comfort zone once again and volunteered in another nursery. She has made that decision to try something different and in a new environment.”
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