From education to employment

Young Boston Mother Successfully Completes Childcare Apprenticeship

It is common knowledge that a working mother has a lot of elements to juggle for her to maintain a work-life balance. Yet, being a 21-year-old mother and a patient of hydrocephalus – having excess water in the brain – Natalie Maddison has successfully completed an apprenticeship in childcare.

Throughout her life Natalie has been battling hydrocephalus. According to the Hydrocephalus Association (who can be accessed by clicking here): “Hydrocephalus is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities called ventricles inside the brain”¦Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of CSF that is produced and the rate at which it is absorbed. As the CSF builds up, it causes the ventricles to enlarge and the pressure inside the head to increase.”

Further: “Acquired hydrocephalus may result from intraventricular haemorrhage, meningitis, head trauma, tumours and cysts. Hydrocephalus is believed to occur in about 2 out of 1,000 births.” The Association also says that there is “There is no known way to prevent or cure hydrocephalus.”


However, despite having this condition, Natalie was determined to make a career for herself. She initially chose to study towards a qualification in health and beauty, but she soon realised that this was not the career for her and she changed to childcare. It was while she was working towards her Apprenticeship in Playwork that Natalie discovered she was pregnant.

Yet, not to be put off from continuing her studies, Natalie worked even harder and with the support of her training provider, Children’s Links. With her commitment and determination in tow, she went on to complete her Apprenticeship in July 2004, securing herself employment at Hawthorn Tree Children’s Centre in Boston. Later that summer, Natalie gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. She adjusted well to motherhood and returned to work and her studies.

Balancing Life and Study

Liz Jones, the Apprenticeships Officer for Children’s Links, said; “Natalie has worked hard and shown that it is possible to balance pregnancy and training. It was essential that she remained focussed on her future and her determination and hard work has paid off. She is now a valued member of the Playwork team at Hawthorn Tree Community Children’s Centre and is progressing well with her Advanced Apprenticeship in Playwork.”

Natalie’s hard work and dedication have paid off as Natalie has reached the finals of the Apprentice of the Year Awards which took place this month at a ceremony on 16th March 2006 at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester. Natalie said: “Although it has been hard work my focus was on providing myself and my son with a secure future.”

People like Natalie set a good example for young mothers who often do not have the support or motivation to have a career too. Natalie’s case shows that being a young, working mother is definitely possible and that there is support out there for people who need it.

Sudakshina Mukherjee

Read about the successes of FE right here at FE News!

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