Dreams of teaching youngsters to dance have become a reality for Jess.
The Hartlepool performer has moved a step closer to achieving her ambitions after securing a bespoke apprenticeship with the school that taught her to dance.
Now working as an apprentice in activity leadership at The Karen Liddle School of Dance in partnership with SRC Bede Sixth Form, Jess gets to teach the skills she learnt herself as a small child.
The 20-year-old said: “I’m teaching young children dances I learnt myself when I was little. It’s brilliant, I really enjoy it.”
The Karen Liddle School of Dance is a community-based school which aims to make dance lessons affordable for people from all backgrounds.
The school currently teaches around 250 students of all ages and after 30 years in business they regularly see previous students return with their own children.
Jess joined the school when she was just two. Bitten by the bug, like many of her fellow students, she has grown up at the school and went on to help out with lessons on a weekend.
Karen Liddle, the dance school’s founder and owner, said: “Jess was always happy to offer extra help and attention for students who were struggling with the moves, and quickly became a favourite with the kids.
“We really value her as a member of our team. When she said she’d like to go into teaching, we wanted to support her and find a qualification she could complete with us.”
After spending quite some time looking for the perfect course and starting to worry that it didn’t exist, it was Karen who first found the apprenticeship at SRC Bede.
She said: “The apprenticeship had to work well for both sides, especially as it would be the first one we’d experienced too. We chose the apprenticeship in activity leadership at Bede as we were really impressed with the initial communication with staff there, who were keen to make sure that everyone was clear on what we wanted to achieve and that we were working together. The course covered all the extra elements we were looking for, like safeguarding knowledge and protocol, which is essential for teaching children.”
Jess’s level 2 apprenticeship comprises a mixture of college-based learning (where she works on her portfolio), on-the-job training at the dance school, and observations and assessments of the lessons she teaches.
Recently, the dance school has started a new venture – teaching and delivering workshops in a number of primary schools, which Jess has been assisting with. “I wanted to include Jess in these new collaborations so that she could gain some experience of a slightly different environment to the studios here, which would benefit her in the future,” said Karen.
Jess said: “Some of the students that we meet at the studios and at the schools have confidence issues. It’s very rewarding working with them and seeing them gain enough confidence to go on to perform.”
Paul Hewitson, Operations Manager at the dance school, said: “Supporting Jess with her apprenticeship has definitely benefited the school. More qualified team members means more support for our students, and as a student of the school herself we’re thrilled to be helping Jess achieve her goals.”
George Parkinson, Jess’s assessor at the College, said: “We’ve all been really impressed by Jess’s progress – she is consistently completing her work to a very high standard. We’ve also established a great relationship with Karen and Paul at the school and have enjoyed working with them.”
Jess has said that she’s been enjoying her apprenticeship so much, she’s thinking about going on to complete the Level 3 qualification at Bede too.
Are you interested in studying at SRC Bede Sixth Form? Get in touch using our enquiry form on our website to find out more.