6 Jan 2017

When Alice first met the mentors at Educ8 Training, she was shy, quiet and clearly lacked confidence. Educ8 training, who run an Active Inclusion funded project, backed by European Social funds turned Alice’s life around and made her aspirations of completing a course and establishing a career come true. Thanks to the project, she is now confident, outgoing and is ready to chase her career with her trusted guide dog, Philly by her side.

Alice, who is partially sighted and had concerns as to whether she would ever be able to complete a training course first met Educ8 training at Ystrad Mynach college where she was looking to complete a HSC qualification but she didn't meet the criteria to do this.

Whilst promoting their course at the college, Educ8 spoke to Alice and gave her the opportunity to visit their office, see the facilities and chat further. She was apprehensive at first but ventured down to the office with her son and guide dog on each arm anyway. She agreed to give the Educ8 course a go!

Alice was extremely nervous but joined in with all the sessions. In the first week she completed her CIEH First Aid level 2 which she had been told in the past she would not be able to complete due to her disability. 

As part of the course Alice had to complete a work placement and she really wanted to work in a hospital.  She had been a care assistant in the past, this was where her disability became a barrier but Educ8 arranged for her to go to Sight Cymru in Pontypool.

Alice (and Philly!) had to catch two buses to get to the office but she really wanted to give it a try, she was determined. As soon as she got there she picked up what was expected of her and she was on the phones speaking to clients by the afternoon.

This was to support people with sight loss in the community, and this service is a lifeline to many clients, who sometimes don't have contact with anyone on a day to day basis. She also had the opportunity to go out into the community with a rehabilitation officer who visited people in their own homes. This experience for Alice was invaluable, her confidence and self-esteem grew beyond anyone's expectations.

The feedback about her work from Sight Cymru was fantastic: 'She has been an absolute joy to work with - on every level, she's been motivated, enthusiastic, helpful, polite and professional.  I'm astonished she hasn't been snapped up already as she would be an asset to any employer.  We've encouraged her to think about becoming a Rehabilitation Officer for the Vision Impaired - current training is at the BCU in Birmingham although there is a possibility in future of it being available via a new style apprenticeship.   She will make one amazing member of staff and we'd have no hesitation in offering this sort of employment to her'

The work placement led to Alice being offered a volunteering position at Sight Cymru with own client list, she is also volunteering at the Blind Club sessions once a fortnight. She has even made contact with Birmingham University to apply for the Rehabilitation Officer training, with a little more ICT training, she can sign up next year!

Alice has also become a Volunteer Social Support Worker with CCBC at a day center in Caerphilly where she is working with elderly people with different degrees of dementia, her training with Educ8 has come in very useful in this role! In her spare time, she is continuing to volunteer at the "Well of Hope" Charity shop in Ystrad Mynach. What a busy lady!

Alice has been committed to the training throughout the course and the barriers that she has overcome have been enormous. When Educ8 later met with Alice, they noted how much of a different person she had become compared to the one they had first met, she is confident and outgoing and is ready to chase her career and become a Rehabilitation Officer.

Educ8, Active Inclusion and the European Social Fund have helped her achieve this. Her story is a true example of how a little training, support and determination can help people with barriers to work achieve their goals.