Breaking barriers to education and work
My name is Andrew Warnock, and I’d like to tell you how the Breaking Barriers programme helped me get a university qualification – and a job!
I’ve always had a keen interest in digital media and love doing computer programming in my spare time, so I wanted to learn more and to make a career in this field.
However, despite trying for about a year, I was unable to find a meaningful job doing what I was interested in.
So last year, I applied to join the first group of students on the Breaking Barriers programme.
Breaking Barriers is an innovative partnership between ENABLE Scotland, the University of Strathclyde Business School and ScottishPower which means young people who have learning disabilities can attend one of the leading business schools in the UK, achieve an accredited qualification, and gain real work experience with one of the largest employers in Scotland.
I was delighted to be offered a place, and earlier this year, I completed classes in Applied Business Skills at the University of Strathclyde Business School, including modules in Digital Marketing and Social Media, Working with People and Customer Service.
I then got to go on a work placement at ScottishPower, which consisted of on-site work experience and off-site reflection on my performance and practical learning.
I really enjoyed everything about the programme –the academic lectures, the work placement, and the social side of being a university student. I made new friends not only with my fellow Breaking Barriers students, but also with the mentors and other students doing courses at Strathclyde Business School.
As a direct result of my participation in the programme and a successful work trial, I was then offered a full-time paid job with a web-design and marketing firm as a Digital Marketing Assistant.
I’m now working full-time and am responsible for web-development, SEO (search engine optimization) and social media co-ordination for the company’s various clients – and I’m loving it!
Next, I’m looking forward to receiving my Certificate in Applied Business Skills alongside my fellow Breaking Barriers students as part of Strathclyde Business School’s graduation ceremony in November.
Then, I’m hoping to undertake a graduate apprenticeship in business management in order to increase my transferable skills, advance within the company I’m now working for, and fulfil my long term ambition of studying at undergraduate level at university.
All of this was possible thanks to the Breaking Barriers programme, and I’d encourage every young person who has a learning disability to apply to join the programme for 2018/19.
To apply, you only need to write or record a short paragraph on why would you like a place on the course and what you feel you would get out of it.
But don’t wait too long – you need to send your application to Mark Hamilton at ENABLE Scotland by Thursday 30th August!
Breaking Barriers has made a huge difference to my life, and it could do the same for you.