Stephanie Murphy, took part in our placement scheme last year when she was a third year Primary Education student. She undertook a summer placements at the Burton Street Foundation. This social enterprise specialises in supporting adults and older children with learning and physical difficulties through the provision of activities. During her placement Stephanie "helped out with the sessions for adults and older children with learning difficulties. However my manager, Andy, has made sure that I gained experience in all areas of the business. I have helped with fund-raising and learnt all about the third sector through meeting with all of the senior managers and writing a collaborative piece on it."
We asked Stephanie about the key skills she learnt from her time on placement. She mentioned; confidence, adaptability, communication, flexibility and initiative. Stephanie commented that she developed the "ability to get to know clients and work out how best to support them. I have learnt how to adapt my techniques for engaging and communicating with them through spending time with them. Through working in sessions with adults and children you have to be able to adapt quickly and think on your feet because situations may arise which you have not planned for. I feel that I have got better at this through working for Burton Street. I developed confidence in myself because I had not worked with adults or children with learning difficulties before and I was nervous to start this placement. I have pushed myself and got stuck in and I have enjoyed it so much. I have also been offered part-time work in the children’s services whilst I finish my degree!"
It sounds like Stephanie had a great time on placement and the offer of employment is amazing! We asked about her development post-placement, she said "hopefully I will continue to work at Burton Street’s children’s services which means I can build on the relationships I have formed with the children so far. This way I will learn more and more about supporting children with learning difficulties. I plan to learn more Makaton sign language so that I can use it in school in the future. I have learnt so much from working at Burton Street that I can use in my career, I have gained ideas for lessons from sessions I have done with clients and I am very interested in continuing to learn about supporting children with learning difficulties in schools."
Finally we wanted to see if Stephanie thinks her placement has improved her employability… she offered; Before I started this placement I had very little knowledge of supporting people with learning difficulties and I was concerned about. I wanted to make sure I had as much knowledge and experience as possible so that I can be an effective teacher to all of my future pupils. This placement has given me excellent, hands-on experience supporting people with a wide variety of learning difficulties and needs. I have learnt so much that I can take forward into my career and I feel so much more confident in my ability to support children with special educational needs (SEN). I also hope that a placement like this will look really good on my CV, considering my chosen career as a teacher, and I will be able to use this experience in job applications and interviews.
We are so happy that Stephanie enjoyed her work placement and she has gained so much from it for her future career. If you like the sound of this, summer placement applications are now open for 2017 - Apply online.