Case study: breaking down barriers


At BB Training Academy we understand that everyone has different learning styles. Our training officers spend time with their learners and personalise their approach depending on the qualities, strengths and goals of each individual. Sheryll Thicke, who has been part of our team since 2015 , has supported hundreds of learners and seen first-hand the impact tailored training can have on outcomes.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to learning will fail to meet the needs of every learner. To provide the best training opportunities, you have to consider the needs of each individual. What learners react to, what drives them on and the challenges they must overcome are all unique to them.

“I recently worked closely with Martin Speed, a learner who was undertaking his Level 3 childcare apprenticeship with us at BB Training Academy. Martin has autism, which presented him with a few challenges to overcome, particularly when dealing with change and in certain social situations.

“It meant I had to develop a specialised approach for Martin, one that would give him the support he needed to flourish while carrying out his apprenticeship at a nursery in Farrington. He is a warm, friendly and hardworking individual, so I knew that if we could establish the right learning approach and offer him the support he needed, he would have no problem in overcoming any barriers.

“Simply being there to listen to Martin’s feelings and concerns and providing constructive feedback really helped to support him through his course. We reflected on social situations he had been in and on what the intent of the member of staff or team member may have been, as well as noting what he had learned that would help him in the future.

“Martin felt comfortable enough to share any concerns or fears he had, which I would discuss with his management team to allow them to gain a better understanding of how they could interact and support him.

“Communicating with Martin in the right way enabled him to understand situations better and in turn enhanced his interactions with the children in his care.”

Adapting practices to each learner

“When adapting practices to each learner, I am mindful that I manage any change in a sensitive manner. Change doesn’t sit well with someone that has autism, so it needs to be handled very carefully, while building the learners resilience to cope with it.

“When working with Martin, holistic plans were still set for the month but too many activities would cause confusion. So, each week I would focus on a different part of the framework, breaking it down to make things easier for Martin to understand.

“Martin is now an accomplished, qualified early years educator. He has excelled in his apprenticeship placement and that is all down to his hard work and dedication to overcome the challenges he faced.

“Recently a parent of one of the children under his care spoke very highly of Martin and gave him glowing praise. She told the nursery manager how impressed she was with Martin’s calm, caring and relaxed nature and how he took time to discuss the simplest things. She felt he was a real asset to the whole team.

“We couldn’t agree more, we are all very proud of Martin and everything he has achieved.”

Commenting on the positive feedback, Martin said:

“I was really happy when I saw [the feedback] from Sheryll. It was a great start to the day and gave me the assurance I needed to keep going and work hard. The training had a great impact on me and gave me the confidence I needed to believe that what I was doing was the correct approach to take.”

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