Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Annie's Story

It is always wonderful to hear about a former student’s success, and I was particularly glad to hear about Annie who is now doing exceptionally well as a hairdresser in Devon.  I first took Annie on as an English student after coming back from teaching in South Korea.  She was in Year 11, disillusioned with her studies in GCSE English, and really needed a reasonable grade in order to get onto the NVQ Hairdressing Diploma course at Exeter College.  Due to Annie’s long recognised struggles in the subject, she was allowed to have a Reader to sit with her in exams and read the questions aloud, but naturally she felt quite concerned that this help would not be enough. 

Using a combination of face to face and online sessions via Skype, we worked together to improve Annie’s skills in English, prepare for the exams, and possibly most importantly boost her confidence.  With my help and her hard work and determination to succeed, she got a good enough result to be accepted onto her chosen course and get a much coveted job at the prestigious Daniel K Neaves salon in Budleigh Salterton, Devon.  This was no small achievement for a student who had by her own admission ‘given up’ on English.

This year Annie achieved her NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Hairdressing Apprenticeship following what has arguably been an exceptional journey.  Not only has she passed the 32 exams required for the course, but has made astonishing progress in her chosen career in a short time.  She has seized every opportunity that has come her way, and is even making a splash on the international hairdressing scene by taking part in a hair show in Slovakia.  She describes styling hair on stage while talking through the process in front of hundreds of people, and I can’t help but be impressed by how much of an achievement this is for someone who never thought she could do any kind of public speaking.  Annie talks about her traveling experiences as giving her perspective; ‘an eye opener, a great opportunity and fun’ and is excited at the prospect of returning to Slovakia in January, while other international destinations are on the cards. 

Also, following her boss’ ill health, she has taken on quite a lot responsibility.  When I spoke to her yesterday, she was on her way to a meeting with web developers about a new website for the salon.  She praises her boss for his progressive and forward thinking approach and the fact that her opinion is valued.  There is no doubt that Annie must be a great asset.  After all, she also won Apprentice of the Year at Exeter College earlier this year, and with a growing clientele and solid bookings until Christmas, she really is excelling in every way.

What is also wonderful to hear is the way she is now able to talk comfortably and openly about her struggles with English at school, whereas before it had been a difficult subject for her.  She tells me about her chats with clients about her progression from struggling student to a brilliant hairdresser.  And what is more, she now even reads for pleasure.

Talking to Annie, you can’t help but be impressed by her passion and enthusiasm for the job.  Her confidence is at an all-time high, and her sheer joy in doing what she loves to do is obvious and infectious.  I am proud to have been involved in a small way in helping her to achieve her dream and wish her every possible success in the future.

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