Beth Dickinson, an apprentice dental nurse at the Darnall Dental Clinic in Sheffield, has benefitted from accessing the college’s LEAP Mentor programme in the past year, which helped her to pass the last exam in her apprenticeship after four unsuccessful attempts.
Beth, who has struggled with reading since her school days, had found her final apprenticeship exam a challenge. Reading and understanding the text had proved to be difficult, despite studying and revising every night in the weeks leading up to the exam.
“I used to come home from work every day and start reading and revising. Each time I attempted the test I didn’t pass, and I was starting to get worried. I needed to pass this exam in order to keep my job at the dental practice; it caused me, and my dad, a lot of stress. My dad is a worrier by nature, and he wanted the best for me, but he wasn’t sure how to help.”
Jo Turner, one of Chesterfield College’s LEAP Mentors, stepped in to help Beth approach her exam in a different way.
LEAP Mentors work with college students and apprentices who need extra support with their studies. Many students and apprentices often find part of their course difficult to overcome, from examinations and assignments to delivering presentations or research tasks. The LEAP Mentors are trained to work with those who are struggling, helping them to find a way through any challenges or issues that are affecting their progress and offer alternative ways of moving forward.
“Jo sat down with me and told me about different ways I could revise for the exam. She tried different coloured paper to help with reading, which worked for me, and explained that there were other ways to learn and study. The college really helped me out, I was struggling without this extra support. With the new techniques Jo had told me about, my dad helped me out every night by reading the questions to me and helping me to prepare – I think he knows more about dental nursing than I do now!”
My employer has been incredibly supportive, and even offered alternative roles for me if I couldn’t pass the exam. But I want to be a dental nurse and I wanted to complete my apprenticeship.”
Beth found a way of revising that worked for her and was able to pass her final exam. She now has two assignments to finish before completing her apprenticeship and moving into a permanent role as a dental nurse.
“I’m just glad it’s over! Working full-time and studying every night was really hard and tiring, but I’m really happy to have passed. I think my dad is relieved as well and really happy with the support I’ve had access to.”
Jo is equally pleased and proud and Beth’s success and her ability to overcome the challenges she faced:
“I could not be happier for Beth, she should be so proud of herself. She has been able to adapt her learning styles to suit her and has been open to a variety of learning methods suggested by myself. As a LEAP Mentor it is our role to ensure that every learners journey leads to independence, success and the confidence to take on challenges, becoming more resilient in their learning and everyday life. Well done Beth, what an achievement and thank you for trusting in my support.”Jo Turner, Beth’s LEAP Mentor