In July 2021, Hannah shared her Information, Advice and Guidance Level 4 story with us, revealing how continuous professional development with TSW Training Apprenticeships boosted her confidence and opened unexpected career doors.
My name is Hannah Rackham. I'm a youth worker and I am just at the end of completing my Level 4 Information, Advice and Guidance.
Why did you choose this qualification?
It is a great qualification to run alongside the qualifications that I've done already.
I've got a Level 3 in Youth Work and a Level 3 in Health and Social with Children and Young People and this was another string to my bow. It could open doors to other potential work opportunities because it's not specifically for young people, which means that I can potentially work with adults too.
What was your biggest challenge?
Time was one of my biggest challenges, because we're quite busy at work and I had to make sure I've got the time to do it. But again, that worked out quite well because my Training Advisor was flexible and could work around me, and fit me in when I could do it, which was really useful.
I think the other barrier that I faced is the technical side.
My work actually put me on a basic computer course to sort of get me to a certain level, but I've only got the basic skills in using that. I've had to definitely touch up on those skills.
"This was another string to my bow. It could open doors to other potential work opportunities because it's not specifically for young people, which means that I can potentially work with adults too."
How do you feel IAG has helped you?
My confidence has been built up quite amazingly really.
I had to be talked into doing this qualification by work. They said: "You will be able to do it and we'll get you through!" and then I had great support from my Training Advisor as well.
As the time has gone on, and even though I still maybe have little wobbles that maybe "I'm not doing this right" or "this isn't going so well" and wondering whether I'll get through the tests, things like that, I definitely feel that my confidence has really grown.
Even to the point where before I wouldn't have ever sort of put myself in a situation to go further in education, or even higher education. But I think this opportunity has made me think that there is possibilities for someone like me to go further. Which is amazing really.
"I think this opportunity has made me think that there is possibilities for someone like me to go further. Which is amazing really."
How did your employer help you?
When I took it on, my work really encouraged me to go for it because my confidence was really low. I've struggled through school and with my dyslexia in the past.
I thought: "I don't know whether I can do this," but my work really encouraged me to go for it. Then once I was on the course, the support was with great and they gave me belief as well, right from the very beginning. "Oh yes, you will be able to do this and we can find ways to help you."
They make it easier and support you which was great.
Has the qualification changed the way you work?
You notice it. I may have been doing a piece of work on something in the qualification, and then you go into drop-in or a situation comes up, and it's very clearly relevant to our procedures. Because I've just been going over it with the course, it feels very natural as well. It's all there. I think it has made it easier.
How was your Training Advisor, Lindsay Sandall?
She's been absolutely amazing.
She found the best ways for me, to make it easier for me to be able to do the qualification. She's offered support all the way through and been flexible about times that she can meet so that I can do it.
She fits it in around my work as well. The support that has been given has been great. It really makes me feel as if there's someone out there for you, that really wants you to do this qualification and says "go for it."
The support that has been given has been great. It really makes me feel as if there's someone out there for you, that really wants you to do this qualification and says "go for it."
How was your apprenticeship experience?
It was interesting as we were doing the course because a lot of the work that we were doing has been affected by COVID-19, and the policies and procedures that looked at that kind of thing.
Everything has been changing so quickly. The information has been different and services have been different as well.
It has really impacted on advice and guidance because it's been a real changing time the last year and a bit.
What’s the next step?
I'd like to go into mental health and get trained up in as a therapist. I would have never thought of doing it before this qualification.
Hannah's accomplishments: TA Perspective
We spoke to Hannah's TA, Lindsay Sandall, about her progress...
"When I signed Hannah up to the qualification I was aware of her barriers, and the impact her education has had on her as a young person and also as an adult.
"Hannah lacked confidence in her ability and questioned herself every step of the way, although she has a supportive employer who allowed her to allocate a percentage of the working week to her development.
"The plan was that Hannah and her colleague were going to link together to complete tasks, however, COVID happened and learning had to happen in isolation.
"To overcome this, we met weekly (when possible) and I utilised digital recordings to meet the criteria. Even though Hannah is dyslexic this assessment method suited her. Her knowledge, understanding, and ability to reflect on practice and events is quite astounding!
"She has a natural ability to absorb what is expected of her and present it verbally. Every question asked, and discussion has been met with detailed and informative responses. I have been impressed, and amazed at times, and I have fed this back to her.
"I want her to know that her barrier does not need to define her or hold her back, she is more than capable to take her learning further.
"Hannah’s ability to retain information on legislation and policies is second to none, and this is incorporated in our discussions, she does not just provide the basics but goes above and beyond.
"All our recordings are at a minimum of 10-minutes and this is because she is able to draw on experience and include as part of her evidence.
"We took some time out of the main qualification to focus on the essential skills, as this posed as another barrier and at times caused Hannah to become distressed. However, with support from Betsan she overcame her anxieties and passed both assessments.
"This has had a massive boost on her confidence as an individual but also on her ability. Throughout her time on the course, I would initially start our session by trying to improve her confidence, but as time has gone on I do not need to do this. She embraces every session, is not nervous, and from discussions with her, it has benefited her practice."