Case Studies

Case Study 3 – Louise Harrison

Louise Harrison is an Auxiliary Nurse (Healthcare Assistant) at South Tyneside District Hospital working in the Surgical Inpatients Unit, and has worked at the hospital nearly 5 years.

A chance look at a poster from UNISONs Bridges To Learning project on the ward notice board resulted in a life changing opportunity for Louise. The poster was advertising functional skills maths and English classes at work, and when she was back home Louise had a look online to find out more.

The idea of get back into learning struck a chord and Louise emailed project worker Hazel Kjebekk to find out more details.

This was a big step for Louise – she hated maths at school.

Louise explained:

“I just used to switch off nothing went in. I got tested to see if I had dyslexia with numbers, which turned out I didn’t. After many extra lessons and one to one lessons I failed maths.

I never returned to doing it until last year.”

The idea of sitting in a classroom working out sums was something that terrified her, but Louise knew if she wanted to get into university she had to do it.

This is where Bridges to Learning stepped in. The project runs classes in conjunction with Sunderland College in the Unison meeting room at South Tyneside Foundation Trust. Functional Skills tutorFelicity Black began working with Louise, not only improving her maths skills, but also increasing her confidence.

Louise explained:

“With the help from Felicity I gained my level 1, it took a little while as I failed twice. I then moved on to level 2 which I smashed first time.

My confidence grew and I started to enjoy maths even doing it in my own time to practice. I hadn’t thought about doing the English as I gained a grade C at school, however I did it to tighten up my belt. I sailed through it again with Felicity and achieved a higher mark then thought I would.”

Felicity is a fantastic tutor and put in loads of extra time in to help me achieve. She gave me loads of confidence and tones of support throughout. She made maths easy to understand and not as scary as I thought.”

After achieving her level 2 Louise was now bitten by the learning bug, and as has enrolled at Sunderland University.  In September she will start studying towards her degree in adult nursing.

This is a three-year course in which, once complete, means Louise will qualify as a Registered Nurse.

Louise is really glad that she took up the opportunity, and said:

“I’d highly recommend anyone to do their functional skills through work. It’s free fun and fantastic.

Felicity is an amazing tutor and I’d also like to thank Hazel for putting me forward in the first place – this has resulted in me achieving my goals.”

Hazel was delighted to hear that Louise has done so well after starting back at studying.

Hazel said:

“As the Bridges to Learning project worker I think it’s a great example and inspirational to other who are in a similar situation. Bridges to learning is pleased to have been able to support Louise and wish here every success on her degree course.”

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