This is a vocational course leading to a range of courses for people who want to work within healthcare, education or social care. As such it is vital to secure a broad experience of your chosen area in order to successfully perform at tough interviews where there is real competition for places in HE.
All students will discuss their needs and we will try to secure them a 1 week placement in the area of their choice. It is advisable to go beyond this and make the most of other opportunities which are available both in college and as part of a much wider community programme.
Current students have trained as part of the Wigan Wider Reading Scheme where following training they go out into local primary schools to help children who are struggling to get to grips with reading or inspire the better readers to go beyond their comfort zone and explore what modern children’s literature has to offer.
You will be able to work with individual children and small groups as your confidence develops. The picture shows Melissa with two boys from the reception class who are sharing a short reading session which was followed up with related activities. These are not always English related as it is often better to consider the strengths of the children involved in order to encourage their reading skills. After all reading is not only associated with books but is skill enabling children to properly engage with all aspects of learning. You will be able to develop an effective working relationship with both children and staff, you will grow in confidence and be able to learn a great deal about an early learning environment.
Some students will volunteer to help on hospital wards or in the hospice over a longer period of time. This gives them a real insight into the different aspects of nursing and the teamwork involved. Students cannot carry out nursing tasks but don’t underestimate the huge importance of talking to patients, you can make a real difference to their understanding and ability to recover. Students can help with administration and contact with patients and relatives.
Wigan Volunteers run a training programme for young people to prepare them for volunteering with families and individuals with a wide variety of needs. Once this has been successfully completed there is a huge range of opportunities where you will be able to choose a situation that suits you. One student this year volunteered to take out a young adult with learning difficulties every week. They generally go to the pictures and then for a pizza. All the students expenses are paid for by the volunteer programme and she decides with the client what they should do. Another two students work with a family where there is a child with learning difficulties, they look after the child in its own home while mum takes the younger child out for some time on their own. All those who have joined in this programme have got a huge amount out of it and learned a great deal about themselves and the challenges and difficulties that others face.
During the holidays there is a great need for students to work on playschemes right across the Borough and beyond. This year we have students volunteering to work with children who have physical and learning difficulties, children with communication difficulties and those with behavioural problems. All are provided with training. This is about giving of yourself but you will have a good time and it is a really valuable experience which will set you apart from others when it comes to university interviews.
All the above are a flavour of some of the things you might choose to get involved in. There is no compulsion and certainly no pressure. Over the course of any year there will always be more opportunities which come along, we ask that you think about what you have to offer and have always found that the more you give the more you get out of life.