From education to employment

Foster carer encouraged me to go further with education

Bethany Townsend, 18 years old, came to live in Newtown from Nottingham. She chose to study Health and Social Care Level 3 Extended Diploma after a foster carer encouraged her to go further with her education as opposed to going straight into work.

Although Bethany had been going through a tough time herself, she already had an interest in helping others and wanted to learn more about mental health.

The Health and Social Care course appealed to her and she has now just completed the two-year course.

Bethany said:” I have enjoyed the course. I particularly enjoyed going on the placements such as to Ysgol Cedewain for children with additional needs. I was able to work with many different young people, all with individual needs and I was able to build my skills of communication and ways to support people.”

Bethany also explained how she felt more at home with learning whilst doing practical work rather than paperwork. She went on to say: “I feel placement helped me grow more as an individual and gave me a chance to show my skills.”

The course involves lots of ways to learn, including events, campaigns, and trips. The group has visited a Mosque in Birmingham and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool. Bethany said: “I enjoyed the trip we went on to Liverpool there we learned about slavery and different cultures to help us grow an understanding of the past.”

Bethany spoke highly of the support she received from tutors. “I have received massive support from my tutors. With a lot going on in my life I appreciated that they had a lot of understanding towards my circumstances, especially through the situation of COVID 19. I found one tutor was of massive support as she stayed online out of college time to help us with our assignments and if we were struggling with the isolation too. Furthermore, I was able to reach extra help from student support as I had help with assignments and extra stuff such as situations with work and timetable.”

During Bethany’s first year she had a lot to cope with in her home life. Even though it was an unsettling time for her with a new home, new jobs, and a need for learning support, she was able to rise to the challenges presented to her.

She immersed herself in new activities both to support her wellbeing and interests and also to earn money. She became a youth representative for the local church and joined a choir. She took on two jobs to save money for driving lessons and a car and studied hard at the same time.

However, going into year two she decided to concentrate more on her college work and gave up some of her extra activities. She also accepted the extra learning needs support offered by the College which she said had been initially hard for her to accept as she was an independent person. However, her choices paid off and she was better able to concentrate and excelled further with her studies.

Bethany said that she would recommend the course to others. “It’s a great course that will find you friends that will always be with you. It is a hard course and you have to put a lot of your time into, but for the future, it is amazing to have the skills gained from it.”

Bethany now hopes to go to Cardiff Metropolitan University to study Youth and Community Work.

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