16-year-old Hayden spent most of his childhood growing up in France. He struggled with dyslexia and the language barrier made his reading and writing skills even more challenging. Hayden can speak English and French fluently but without reading and writing skills, finding education and employment opportunities were extremely challenging and also led Hayden to feel low in confidence.
Despite this, Hayden was determined to overcome his barriers and develop the skills and confidence to get employment in the area he most enjoys – driving. Hayden spent much of his time in France working in the horticultural industry, driving and operating farm machinery.
Having been referred to Game Changer, addressing Hayden’s communication barriers were an essential first step and so he started working with a Game Changer functional skills consultant, Ian, to develop his reading and writing skills.
Rather than do this in a classroom environment, Hayden worked with Ian at the Eden Project where they had set up a work placement opportunity in an industry that Hayden was familiar with and wanted to be in – horticulture. This enabled Ian to work with Hayden in a contextualised approach as everything he learned was relevant to his work placement. Ian comments:
“We initially focused on learning important signage at the Eden Project. This contextualisation aimed to reduce any potential embarrassment amongst others in his placement group by ensuring he could both find his way around and understand potential hazards. Initial assessment was carried out by typing annotations on photos of heavy plant machines and using a digital pencil to handwrite on a tablet. This avoided the use of paper which was associated with past failure.
He took photographs of signs at The Eden Project and I made them into videos which he could use to practice word recognition by toggling audio on and off. His Placement was extended for four more weeks, his attitude and progress in-placement were praised by his training mentor.”
The activities Hayden worked on with Ian led to an increase in self-belief and he started to develop a can-do attitude. His speaking and listening skills developed well and he started writing short sentences about the work he did on placement.
He has continued to develop his literacy skills and impress with his work ethos at the Eden Project so much so that he will be invited to apply for an apprenticeship at the Eden Project in May 2018. The aim is for Hayden to achieve Entry level 3 English by September, so he can manage the academic requirements of college work during his apprenticeship.
Hayden recognises how Game Changer’s approach has helped him:
“Game Changer has helped me to read. That means a lot because it can help me get a job. Also working 1-1 with Ian is right for me because I don’t like being in a classroom.”
With every day that passes, Hayden becomes more confident, skilled and closer to his career ambition.