RaPAL

Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Margaret Green

Margaret Green, Bradford College

Margaret Green

My name is Margaret Green. I am fifty-two years old and employed as a Supply Chain Lead for the Materials Management Department (procurement) at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

I began working at the NHS ten years ago in the laundry department; I stayed there for two years and was successful in gaining a role in the pharmacy department. This opened up a lot of opportunities for me, one of which was to participate in gaining up-to date-qualifications. This was something that I was very apprehensive about due to my past experiences.

The qualification was an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services. This included completing NVQ, BTEC, employment and Key Skills (English and maths level 1). I chose to enrol on a NVQ as it was work based and would enhance my knowledge and improve my confidence. I have always felt that I was never very academic and thought I would really like to have up-to-date relevant qualifications which I feel would enhance the skills I had obtained throughout my past career.

NVQs also appealed to me as I was informed that I would have a personal assessor to talk me through any queries or concerns. This was very important to me as I did not have very much confidence in myself and felt very unsure of my abilities. I also felt very reassured as I was aware it would not include an exam at the end and I could work through things at my own pace. This suited my style of learning as at the age of fifty-two going back into an education setting was well out of my comfort zone.

At first I was a little daunted by the amount of computer use but with the guidance of my assessor, Nicola Crawley, I now use my home computer with much more confidence. Using the Ecordia system was a very good way of recording my course work. It was easily retained and I could refer back to previous work quickly. It was a good system and easy to find my way around and meant I did not have to have lots of paper work that could have been lost or destroyed easily. This has now allowed me to be confident enough to apply and be successful in gaining my present position which involves a great deal of computer based work and knowledge, something that I once thought above me. I feel I have really acquired many skills whilst studying this NVQ. The qualifications I received when I completed the course have opened many more doors to me.

The personal impact it has had has been very positive and the feedback I received from my assessor was very encouraging as she always stated how well I had researched things. I really enjoyed gathering the information and spent many hours researching some of the information required to complete the course work. I feel it took a great deal of work to complete my course work to a standard that I felt happy with. It was not always easy. There were times I cried over it and felt that my work was not good enough, but my assessor Nicola was always there reassuring me that the work I was producing was to a very high standard. Her encouraging words kept me going. I worked most evenings and at weekends I would work day and night putting my heart and soul into the course.

My family and my assessor were extremely supportive and patient with me whilst I completed the course, and continue to support me in my new role as Supply Chain Lead. I would not have been able to apply for this role if I did not have the relevant qualifications. My families have informed me that they have noticed a change in my confidence levels and my ability to study and research. My sons are impressed with my computer skills now!

In my new role I have more responsibilities and I am now responsible for a team of nineteen staff and work across two sites. Part of my role involves recruiting staff into our department. I am able to use my skills and knowledge to assist individuals who may come across with low self-esteem and confidence issues to overcome their barriers and I now encourage them to see their own ability just as my assessor did for me.

After being told to stand on a chair in front of the class while a teacher informed everyone in the class that I was not worth teaching and would never amount to anything, I now feel I have really accomplished something. I am so proud of myself and looking forward to continuing with my new challenge: not bad for someone who grew up with low self-esteem and confidence issues.

Many thanks to my assessor Nicola and Bradford College for seeing potential in me that I had long ago forgotten I had. Words cannot express my thanks and gratitude to them for my new found confidence. I really could not have done this without her.

Overall, I can say that I would recommend an NVQ to anyone who wishes to gain qualifications but most of all; it most definitely improves knowledge of the job that you are undertaking and confidence, no matter your age or your perceived ability. The help and assistance is there, you just have to have the courage to step out of your comfort zone and accept the support to grow your future.

Margaret Green

Tutor Perspective: Nicola Crawley

Senior Education and Training Pharmacy Technician, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

The Intermediate Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services was mandatory for Margaret’s pharmacy role. Margaret was extremely apprehensive about this and began the course a very nervous and anxious learner. She did not believe she had the capabilities to complete the course, especially on hearing of all the different elements including IT and numeracy skills. As we worked together on the course it was clear that many of Margaret’s learning barriers were due to previous negative learning experiences. She put her all into the course and it was extremely rewarding as an assessor to see her confidence grow. So much so that she went on to complete the Distinction sections of the BTEC element. I believe Margaret was always very capable she just needed the confidence. She overcame her barriers that had prevented her from progressing to her full potential for so long. I am very pleased that I was part of her journey in achieving her goals and true potential.

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