“Traineeships are great, to support kids like my son into learning and into work.”
We spoke to Alison, whose son joined our traineeship programme earlier this year.
With school not the right environment for him, he has been looking for other ways to gain qualifications that he didn’t get in school, as well as prepare for the world of work.
Find out how he got on and Alison’s perspective of traineeships as a parent, and the support provided by Nasreen Anwar (Naz), our traineeship tutor.
What was your son doing before he started the traineeship?
He was not doing much at all, he had finished school, he was a school refuser, had anxiety around attending so he didn’t. He also had a fear of exams and finished school last year. He’s 17 now, with no qualifications.
A youth worker managed to get him to go back into school and he enrolled in a college course and was doing English and maths and went to a couple of lessons but without support he stopped going.
Through school he got involved with Connections – he was going to college but stopped, and they recommended the traineeship programme.
How did he get on at school?
Something changed in year 10, there were some incidents with bullying, low self-esteem and anxiety issues. Everything was fine up until year 9 then this anxiety hit for various reasons. He stopped going to school, he found homework a challenge – he worked well in class and is shown to be intelligent; he has got the ability but isn’t mentally engaged.
We tried to get him into a local council programme, Tracks, for children with anxiety issues and problems at school. He was great at first but then became disengaged and there wasn’t much they could do.
Why did he want to join the programme?
He wanted to join, I didn’t think he’d do it, I thought he wasn’t ready. Connections asked if he’d be interested, and he was in a better place mentally then and wanted to learn outside of school.
He was really interested and he wanted to get a job. He’s been put off education – that might change in the future. He’s always been a younger kid in his school year with a birthday in July and emotionally quite young.
What did he find the most interesting and challenging?
He engaged really well with Naz, his tutor, as well as with his work but within two weeks he was feeling overwhelmed. Naz suggested he do the work in smaller bits, and within his session and they could go through it together. Naz was fantastic; she’s been fabulous. Without working directly with someone he becomes disengaged.
What are his career goals?
He doesn’t know what he wants to do – I think he’d like to do something in IT, he’s good with IT stuff, and he talks to people online and occasionally he goes out with some mates locally.
What’s your opinion of traineeships as a parent?
Traineeships are great, to support kids like my son into learning and into work as they are clueless. They go through everything you need as to how the world of work works really. I would recommend it to other parents with children in the same position as mine that have missed school, or where school isn’t the right environment for them.
Naz has bent over backwards in support for my son – she’s been a really great support to me as well – caring and understanding. My son enjoyed learning with Naz, and although he’s now on a break due to mental health the one thing he was worried about was letting her down, but I told him she would understand and to be honest, and when he’s feeling up to it again he knows he can rejoin and that support will continue.