Some recent work experience has proved an eye opener for our health and social care students, Hannah and Ashleigh.
Hannah, 17, and Ashleigh, 17, both spent some time with the voluntary organisation Revitalise over the summer break, getting some hands-on experience in the care industry.
Revitalise, based in Essex, Southampton and Southport, is a national organisation offering respite care in holiday settings for disabled people and carers. Revitalise believes that disabled people should have the same rights, freedoms, responsibilities and quality of life as those without disabilities, and their mission is to enable disabled people in the UK to access essential breaks with care.
Hannah and Ashleigh both worked as Level 1 volunteers at the Sandpipers centre in Southport during their placements. Their day-to-day work involved caring for and feeding guests, assisting wheelchair users, looking after guest’s rooms, and spending social time with guests, making them feel welcome and comfortable.
Hannah, who wants to go into learning disability nursing, said: “We went on a couple of excursions to Blackpool and Liverpool, and we were assigned to one person throughout each trip.”
“Having that experience really highlighted to me how something as simple as uneven ground or bumpy streets in a city can make using a wheelchair really tricky.”
Ashleigh, who aspires to work in paediatric nursing, said: “I want to work in helping people and this experience gave me the opportunity to work with people with different levels of ability.”
“It was also really valuable working with the carers and learning directly from them, not just about things like feeding a person but also communicating with them and being a friendly face. I will meet lots of different people in nursing, so this experience will help me in my work.”
When asked what she had taken away from the work experience, Hannah said: “I’ve got a different mind-set now – I keep looking at things like small steps and thinking about wheelchair users and how something a lot of us don’t notice or think about will affect them.”
“It’s not only given me extra knowledge for when I go into working in nursing, but it’s also inspired me to be a voice for people who can’t speak up for themselves – I want to be an advocate for people’s rights.”
Jenny, Health & Social Care teacher at Bede Sixth Form College, helped the students organise their work experience placements. She said: “I am very proud of both students, who had to face new challenges. They will both be real assets in their future careers.”