I started my learning journey by completing the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC), this sparked my interest to learn more about the youth justice system and how young people are treated once they enter it. I decided to progress on to the foundation degree and then the BA. I knew it would be challenging, not only because I am dyslexic but also because it would mean balancing the demands of my job with course work and assignments.
What helped me most and made it achievable, was the way the course is structured, it takes you on a learning journey, gets you thinking and ensures that you have all you need to complete your assignments.
The most challenging thing for me was having to make time every day to work on the learning modules, I know some people set aside time at weekends, but this didn’t work for me as a dyslexic person. I found the little and often route much more effective.
Each part of the BA has improved and developed my skills as a practitioner and manager.
I have developed a clear understanding of the importance of evidence-based practice and enhanced and improved my academic knowledge of why and how we do the things we do.
I can’t say that I have loved every minute of it, and there have been times when I have really struggled with the assignments, but the guidance I was given and the support from learning coaches helped me to focus on and structure them.
Being given the Mark Pontin Award* really moved me as I left school with two CSEs and one O-Level, so it was the first and only time I have been recognised for my academic achievements.
To sum it all up, I have loved the learning, been challenged by the assignments, improved my academic understanding and practice, but most of all I have really enjoyed the journey.
*(Mark Ponton Award: prize awarded to the student who has shown tenacity and effort above and beyond to achieve their certificate. It is awarded in memory of a well-respected and dedicated learning coach who was committed to improving outcomes for young people through developing practitioners’ educational skills).