Foundation Apprenticeship inspires Katie to be a role model
Doing a Foundation Apprenticeship at school gave Katie Phinn the confidence to pursue her dreams of a career in education while inspiring other deaf youngsters with her courage and determination.
Katie, 19, who was born deaf and has a cochlear implant, worried that her disability might make it impossible to work with children.
But a Skills for Work Childcare course gave her the confidence to choose a Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services (Children and Young People) as a subject in her 6th year at Braeview Academy in Dundee.
Katie thrived on the apprenticeship, coping well with the demands of learning through signing, and quickly became a role model for deaf children while on her industry placement as part of the Foundation Apprenticeship at Claypotts Castle Primary.
The Foundation Apprenticeship helped me see a clear path for the future. It helped me grow in confidence and develop communication skills to work with both hearing and deaf children.
Working with both deaf and hearing children, Katie used British Sign Language to make the learning environment inclusive for everyone.
She successfully applied the theory she had learned to the practice of supporting the learning and development of the children, and staff could rely on her to set up and support activities in the classroom.
Katie, of Dundee, said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship helped me see a clear path for the future. It helped me grow in confidence and develop communication skills to work with both hearing and deaf children.
“Staff told me that the children were very excited when they knew I was coming in and that really motivated me.
“I didn’t have any deaf role models when I was growing up so I was really happy to show deaf children what they can achieve.”
Katie, who was supported through school by the Deaf Education Service in Dundee, also learned about child development and health and safety.
Now, Katie is enrolled on a full-time NC Early Education course to build on her knowledge and hopes to progress to a Modern Apprenticeship in the future.
Dundee & Angus College Head of Curriculum for Children and Young People Elaine Stewart said: “Katie’s determination to succeed and focus on her abilities rather than on the barriers she might face is inspiring.
“Her genuine passion and enthusiasm for working with children really shone through and made her stand out from the other apprentices.
“She had an outstanding impact on the children, especially the deaf children, she worked with, who saw her as an inspirational role model.”
Katie’s determination to succeed and focus on her abilities rather than on the barriers she might face is inspiring. She had an outstanding impact on the children, especially the deaf children, she worked with, who saw her as an inspirational role model.
Dundee & Angus College Head of Curriculum for Children and Young People
Katie’s awareness of the apprenticeship pathway was helped by Skills Development Scotland Careers Advisers who worked with her when she was at school.
Katie said: “When I was in third year at high school I met with two different careers advisers from SDS to talk to about my future. They helped me with CV and gave me ideas about different pathways for working with children or going into hairdressing.”
Careers Adviser Sam Clenaghan said: “When I worked with Katie she was doing a college link course and was apprehensive about moving into further education after school. We spoke about other options such as apprenticeship to ensure she was aware of what these entailed.”
Foundation Apprenticeships provide school pupils with the skills employers need, offering industry insight to gain a work-based learning qualification at the same level as a Higher.
There are 12 available Foundation Apprenticeship subjects to choose from at SCQF level 6. A pilot programme of Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 are for S3-S6 pupils.
Katie’s achievements led to her being a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category sponsored by the College Development Network.