James Doran – Teaching Standards
Apprenticeships function as the perfect platform for students to gain the experience that employers require and work as a brilliant bridge between school and the workplace. In addition to consolidating the futures of our students and their employers, our Apprenticeships have another purpose, to help local communities.
Whilst working as apprentices, our students are employed in areas local to their College, where they aim to help both their employer and the surrounding community.
James Doran, a Level 3 Teaching Standards Apprentice is one example of how our students have helped the local community through their apprenticeship. During his apprenticeship, James worked at Maltby Hilltop School, where he took care of students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Whilst at Maltby Hilltop, James worked closely with the teaching staff to support them in providing a safe learning environment where the students could thrive irrespective of their needs.
Speaking about his time as an apprentice, he commented: “When I first started, I was just trying to understand what support each child needed. I worked with the staff and watched how they handled different situations.
“As I became more confident and learned what was needed of me, I could support students in their academic and behavioural needs and help staff reach their teaching targets.”
Six months into James’ apprenticeship the COVID-19 pandemic struck and changed his job drastically.
When asked about these changes, he said: “The manner in which we attended to the students changed drastically, from caring and educating them, to solely caring for them.
“Children in need were the only children who came in, and my job became to care for them on a daily basis. For students who need a routine, it was a very troubling time.”
Through his heroic work during the pandemic, James helped children who needed to attend school.
Speaking about this experience, James said: “It was quite tough being an apprentice during the pandemic. The situation meant that I could only care for a certain group of children with certain needs.
“However, I felt like I developed skills, confidence and experience that I don’t think I would have if it weren’t for the pandemic. I was working with students with very high needs, perhaps beyond my training, on a daily basis, so I felt like I developed an understanding of the children’s behaviours.”
James’ work at Maltby Hilltop School was crucial to the local community during the pandemic as he and his colleagues made it possible for the most vulnerable students to maintain some form of normality during the difficult period.
This work was celebrated by RNN Training and externally, as James was presented with the Principal’s award and was also one of the finalists in the Rotherham Advertiser’s nominees for Apprentice of the Year.
When asked about the awards, James said: “It’s really nice to be recognised. It was a very tough period for so many people, particularly the students I worked with so to get the Principal’s Award was a real honour.
“Working as intensely as I did during the pandemic, whilst trying to balance my personal life at the same time was incredibly difficult, but the experience, knowledge and confidence I gained from it, has been invaluable.”
Looking to the future, James wants to continue to help children with SEND and has ambitions of furthering his education to a Level 4 in Teaching Standards.
Speaking about his Level 3 apprenticeship, James said: “My apprenticeship was a real combination of learning on the job and learning at College. At College, we learn about the national curriculum and how to integrate health and safety, as well as safeguarding into everyday tasks.
“I feel like I gained the knowledge I needed to effectively help the children, by for example, carrying out interventions or one-on-one teachings. My tutors were really helpful and always there if I needed help with anything.”