Ryan Johnson-Wilcock, a Teaching Assistant at Ysgol Maes Y Felin, was awarded the GLLM North Wales ‘Apprentice of the Year’ in the sector of Sport, Education and Childcare 2022.
When Ryan, 18, came to Achieve More Training, we initially spoke with his mum. She was worried about Ryan, as he is naturally very shy and quiet but towards the end of High School this had developed into anxiety. He had started college, but dropped out. This was very concerning as, although Ryan was not very academic, he had always been a committed student at school and applied himself. He always had a good attitude towards school and good attendance. Initially, we had meetings with Ryan’s mum. Then Ryan was included in meetings, in which we explained how we could work with him to help him to have a plan to get back on track and make a positive progression in the future.
Ryan and his mum both felt reassured by the small class sizes and the informal learning environment based within Holywell Town F.C, so he agreed he would attend the programme. This in itself was a big step.
We quickly got to work on a personal development plan for Ryan, and he particularly benefitted from the practical sports sessions. Initially, just participating in these, but eventually being able to plan and deliver sports sessions to his peers (including making them covid-19 safe) and finally passing his level 1 Sports Coaching Certificate which involved a formal coaching observation.
During this time, he also gained part-time employment in retail, which was his first job. He then had to demonstrate resilience, as his initial plans of progressing into a leisure career with Aura Leisure, which he had been working hard towards, were scuppered due to Covid-19 restrictions. Ryan was undeterred and worked hard in conjunction with our tutor’s and business development team to come up with a new plan.
He quickly gained a placement to volunteer in Maes y Felin school as a Learning Support Assistant. He thrived in this environment and quickly became confident and competent in the role. This led to the school offering him a job as an Apprentice Learning Support Assistant. He is now employed at the school and making great progress through his qualification in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, as well becoming an important member of the school staff.
Some quotes from Ryan are listed below of him describing his journey in his own words.
“When I left school I did start college, but this didn’t work for me. I couldn’t settle in and was feeling more and more anxious and unhappy, so I left. Then my mum found the Achieve More Training course through Facebook, and straight away it worked well for me.”
“I worked with my tutor on making a plan, and after the first month I was feeling a lot more confident. I managed to get a part-time weekend job in B&M, which was my first job and great for my confidence.”
“The course, and especially the individual support from my tutor, really helped me to see what options I had. First, I decided on a career in fitness. However, I could not carry on with this as covid meant the leisure centre could not take me on a placement anymore. I spoke with my tutor a lot and decided that my passion for sport and doing my coaching in the summer would make me good at working with children.
“Even with the lockdowns, Achieve More helped me get on a placement at Ysgol Maes y Felin. This was really well organised, they helped me get my DBS and EWC registration so I could work in a school. The level 1 sports coaching qualification which I did really helped on my placement doing the PE at school and my confidence with the kids and school teachers. It was very supportive and well planned and I really wanted to get offered a job at the school. When I got the job I was really happy!”
“My confidence increased throughout the course, I knew what progress I had made and felt good about the achievements I had on the course. I even managed to get up to level 2 in numeracy and literacy.
“Due to covid I had to make a new plan for progression from leisure to teaching assistant in a school. The 1-1 meetings and support from my tutor were really helpful to do this.
“My placement was a really good opportunity, it helped me to get to know the role. I don’t think I would have ever applied for this career without the support I got, and being able to do a placement to try it convinced me.
“I got a lot of help with job opportunities. My Personal Development Plan was the biggest part of this. We broke it down week by week, and it meant I always knew what I was going for next.
“The course was really good. Especially the help I got from my tutor Jen. That support really made the difference to get the job. Thanks!”