College support is vital to Debbie’s success

Debbie Blair

Debbie Blair recently completed the Social Services Children and Young People Award at SCQF level 9 as a Modern Apprentice. Read her story below:

During my time studying for the SVQ Level 4, I worked as a Senior Playworker at Liberton After-School Club (LASC). My time there has been undeniably one of the greatest experiences I will ever have, as it’s safe to say the club faced many obstacles along the way.    

Let me take you back to the beginning of February. The school bell rings, the children are collected from their classes, register their names and either head outside to play or stay inside to have a snack. Unbeknownst to all of us, a fire breaks out in one of the classrooms above our clubroom. The fire alarm rings, children are escorted to the fire safety point and fortunately, everyone was accounted for.  

That was just the beginning of a very uncertain time for LASC. Nevertheless, my managers were very well equipped to deal with the situation and worked tirelessly to find a new space for the club to operate from. But let’s fast forward to a month later – the infamous COVID-19 virus breaks out, causing most businesses to close, including LASC, eventually leading to the furloughing of staff.  

At that point, I did not know if I would be able to complete my qualification. I did not have the drive or motivation as it seemed like many things were against me. How could I possibly write and reflect about my practice when I was no longer working? How could I implement an operational plan when there was no building, no club, no children or staff to work with? I felt at a loss for some time, but then I got thinking, with the help of my tutor and manager.  

All that I had experienced within the first three months of this year, could be used as evidence within my qualification. Writing and reflecting about everything that had happened allowed me to process it all, come to terms with it and motivate me to not let my working circumstances affect my studies. Instead of viewing it as an adversity, I began to see it as an opportunity to learn from and understand that there are some things out with our control. But we shouldn’t let that stop us from achieving our goals.  

So with the support of my tutor, fellow staff members, friends and family, I was able to complete my qualification, ahead of schedule, and just in time to begin my university course, where I’m hoping to become a Primary Teacher.   

If there is one thing I have learned through studying with Borders College, it’s that the right level of support is vital to success. It has been a pleasure working with this College.

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