Sarah & Cheryl – Meeting individual learning needs

We were contacted by Middlesbrough County Council to see if we could work with a temporary contract employee and a volunteer to achieve a qualification in business admin.  The two potential learners had disabilities, Sarah has Cerebral Palsy and had missed a great deal of school and Cheryl has learning difficulties.

We met with them and their line managers and the departments training manager and carried out an learning assessment and a discussion of their work roles, although their managers had indicated that they wished them to complete a level 2 qualification in business administration, the assessment and discussion identified that a level 1 qualification was achievable, whilst a level two qualification would be extremely hard if not impossible to complete at this stage, Sarah and Cheryl agreed it was more important to build their basic skills which would enhance their confidence to move onto the next level.

Our funding partner New College Durham had not funded level 1 qualifications before and had not intended to do so, but agreed under equality of access to education to make an exception, they also agreed to fund over a longer period of time to meet the needs of the learners.  VTNE gained permission from our awarding body to deliver the qualification. 

Sarah was unable to write and was very slow on a computer, and due to her courses of treatments was unable to complete any work for every two weeks out of every six weeks and it was identified that both would require a high level of training and support to enable them to learn and evidence her understanding.

Both learners were allocated a workplace mentor who worked closely with them and myself to carry out any necessary in-house training.  VTNE produced specially developed workbooks and information to meet their individual needs, both paper based and electronic versions were made available.  The workplace mentors also worked well with Cheryl and Sarah to develop opportunities for gathering the necessary evidence.

Both Sarah and Cheryl achieved their qualifications.  Cheryl was awarded her certificate in a special ceremony at a learning disabilities group she co-chairs and has gone on to attain a paid role with an organisation that supports people with learning disabilities and Sarah used the qualification to attain a permanent, part-time position with the council and the last time I spoke to her was considering going for her level 2 qualification in business admin with an in-house assessor with the council. 

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