Natspec Network | December Highlights

A monthly roundup of stories from the specialist sector

Natspec Network | December Highlights

20th December 2018

December’s highlights are here early this month as many organisations and providers wind down for Christmas break. We’re pleased to be closing off the last highlights of the year with some great news from the specialist sector. Here are the items in this piece:

  1. Sporting marvel Sami hits the ground running at London South East Colleges
  2. Coventry athlete opens redesigned living space at Hereward College
  3. Royal Opening for Boultham Park Education Centre
  4. Learner from Boroughbridge has won an industry award at a prestigious ceremony

Sporting marvel Sami hits the ground running

This year, a student from Dorton College – RSBC’s Further Education College has been creating huge waves amongst her fellow students and teachers at London South East Colleges’ Bromley Campus.

Sayma Begum (aka Sami), started to lose her sight at the age of just 6 years old and now lives with, and successfully manages, a severe degenerative visual impairment. None of this has held the 16-year-old back, and she is currently careering ahead on her Sport and Exercise course.

Sayma Begum - Sami, sport and fitness student

Sami left school last Summer with an excellent set of GCSEs including good grades in English and maths. With an interest in sports and fitness and a particular love of football and table tennis, Sami decided that she wanted to put her talents towards promoting health, fitness training and sports development in her future career.

Sami says: “I have ambitions to become a sports physiotherapist one day. I’d love to work with professional footballers treating sports injuries – my ideal job would be to work for Liverpool FC, my favourite team.

“I discovered my passion for all things physiology and anatomy during biology lessons at school and knew from an early age what I wanted to do. Because of my visual impairment, I am currently living in at Dorton College and attend the Bromley Campus for 3 days a week.

“At Dorton, I am helped with my living and independence skills and I have two wonderful Learning Support Assistants, Catherine and Janine who guide me through any potential issues regarding my written and theory projects. They are a great help to me and enable me to study without any barriers.”

Sami’s course tutor at London South East Colleges is Karen Giannini. She has been impressed with how well Sami has integrated with her classmates and become a major contributor to the group’s dynamics. She says: “Not only is Sami a very bright and enthusiastic student, but she also has a wonderful personality, charisma in bundles and learns at an amazing pace. We aren’t even at the end of our first term and she is already a big success. I am so glad she joined my class; it is students like her who make teaching a real pleasure.”

Recently, Sami has won a Jack Petchey Award for sporting excellence and inspiring her fellow students. She is currently awaiting to take part in a work placement at a nearby gymnasium and leisure complex in Bromley and has achieved a massive 97% attendance record at the College.

Offering her own personal advice and words of wisdom, Sami adds: “You simply have to make good use of all the senses and abilities you have and not dwell on those that you don’t. You must also do the things you love – and love the things you do. Nothing is going to stop me from achieving my goals and ambitions, and although my physical sight is poor, I can see my future very clearly.”


Coventry athlete opens redesigned living space at Hereward college

Coventry-based wheelchair athlete, Kare Adenegan has officially opened a newly revamped residential living space at Hereward College in Coventry – Cofa’s Tree Lodge.

Karen Adenegan outside newly established living space at Hereward college with some of the students

Hereward College, which provides young people with disabilities with the skills needed for independent living and employment, caters for around 250 students on a day and residential basis.

The newly refurbished and purpose built residential accommodation includes fully accessible bedrooms and bathrooms, adjustable kitchens, and state of the art assistive technology.

Students who stay at the college access dedicated arts & crafts and cooking area, take part in health and wellbeing activities, and plan social and group events.  The college also offers respite care breaks for young adults.

Jane Ferguson, Vice Principal Safeguarding and Pastoral Care said: “We are delighted to be able to upgrade our residential provision to our students. The young people who choose to stay at Hereward develop independence and life skills, make new friends, gain confidence, and take more control over their own care supported by a highly experienced team of staff.”


Royal Opening for Boultham Park Education Centre

On Tuesday 11th December Linkage, the Lincolnshire-based learning disability charity, was proud to receive HRH The Princess Royal at the Boultham Park Education Centre.

HRH the royal princess visiting Linkage college

Her Royal Highness attended the site to officially open the Education Centre which is home to Linkage College, Lincolnshire’s only specialist further education college for people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

HRH visiting Linkage college 2

During the two hour visit Her Royal Highness was given the opportunity to see firsthand the how the charity, and the facilities which have been built as part of the Boultham Park Restoration Project, support young people and adults with learning disabilities.

The Boultham Park Restoration Project is a partnership project between Linkage Community Trust and City of Lincoln Council who have been awarded £2.7 million in grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Parks for People programme to restore Boultham Park. The Linkage facilities at the site include The Boultham Park Education Centre, Linkage Community Support housing at Rookery Court, the Boultham Park Horticulture Centre and the Boultham Park Café which are also both operated by Linkage

At the Education Centre and Horticulture Centre Princess Anne observed a range of lessons in progress including Lego®-based Therapy, a new approach to teaching and learning which uses Lego as a way to support language development, social skills and numeracy. Her Royal Highness also visited the home of a resident at Rookery Court where people develop their independent living skills whilst still being able to access care services from Linkage.

Throughout the afternoon Her Royal Highness met and spoke with a number of college students and Linkage clients who are supported through Linkage Care Services and Linkage Adult Skills, a day service for people with learning disabilities. Linkage CEO, Valerie Waby, who showed Her Royal Highness around said: “The Princess Royal seemed to very much enjoy her time speaking with clients, students and staff. She had a genuine in interest in the work we do, as well as an understanding of the issues we face. To hear her say that as a charity we have a model which should be expanded and adopted by others was a particularly proud moment.”


Learner from CSCD has won an industry award at a prestigious ceremony

Spraying cars for a living turned from a dream to a reality for a 21-year-old Deaf student from Boroughbridge and he has now been awarded an industry accolade for his work.

Joseph Brown, a former residential student at Communication Specialist College Doncaster (CSCD), was given the award for his skills in paint work from the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and named the overall winner at the event by the Federation of the Motor Industry. The awards were presented by Prince Michael of Kent who was very impressed with Joseph.

Joseph Brown, student at Borough bridge awarded industry award at prestigious event

Following successful work placements, Joseph took up his first full-time job in July last year at James Wood Automotive Refinishers Ltd in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire and has recently been recognised at the IMI’s Outstanding Achiever Awards ceremony.

He said; “I’m thrilled to have received the award for paintwork and to receive the Federation of the Motor Industry bursary. Working in this motor industry was something I always dreamed of, so to be recognised for my work is fantastic.

Joseph was at college for four years, he studied car body and spraying in his first two years at CSCD and in his third year he concentrated on spraying, with his final year involving an internship.

Andy Boothroyd, tutor at Communication Specialist College Doncaster, said: “We are all so proud of Joseph and what he has achieved.

“He worked hard at college and learned a lot from his tutors including Sanjay Topiwala, one of his main tutors, whose years of experience and expertise were used to help Joseph reach a high standard. Sanjay also helped him to gain his additional custom paint qualification.

“It is fantastic to see that Joseph has used the skills he learned to do an outstanding job in his chosen career.”

The team at James Wood Automotive Refinishers have learned a number of basic signs from Joseph and they use pads and pens and a white board to communicate.

James Wood said: “We are extremely pleased that Joseph’s hard work has been rewarded in this way. He is a very dedicated and talented member of the team.

“Having a Deaf employee was a real unknown to us before Joseph and his family approached us. Thankfully his college came out and supported his work experience and his transition into work and we’ve never looked back.”