THE road to achieving a major accolade as a young learner began for 19-year-old Shannon Sample with her work as a volunteer with disabled young people.
Her passion and commitment to her role led to an apprenticeship and then the honour earlier this year of being named Outstanding Learner of the Year at the Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards 2015.
As a classroom assistant for the Wirral-based charity Stick ‘n’ Step, Shannon is now helping to make a massive difference to the lives of children with cerebral palsy, working for an organisation that runs free conductive education sessions to stretch their abilities and help them to lead independent lives.
Like many teenagers preparing to leave school, Shannon had no fixed ideas about what she wanted to do.
She said: “I was choosing between childcare and hairdressing but decided to go down the health and social care route. When I was given the chance to volunteer at Stick ‘n’ Step, I hadn’t even thought about working with disabled children and had no idea what cerebral palsy was.
“But in my year of volunteering, I learned so much and really loved the work I was doing so, when I was asked if I wanted to become an apprentice, I was so pleased.”
Shannon, a learner with GMLPF member, Progress to Excellence, has just completed her Children and Young People’s Workforce NVQ Level 2.
A career supporting young people with disabilities
She continued: “By volunteering at the centre, the charity saw I had the potential to make a career out of caring for young people with disabilities. Stick ‘n’ Step and my assessor, Clare Wharton, were so supportive of me both as a person and as a learner.
“The work is amazing, helping during sessions with various activities and exercises for young people aged from a few months to 18.
“It’s the best job ever, working with these children and knowing I can make a big difference to their lives.”