26 May, 2021 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

Tutor 'Boosted Our Confidence' For Career Change to SNA

child with painted hands

The decision to go back to education as a mature learner while working or juggling family life is not a decision that can be made lightly. 

Many barriers hold people back from achieving their academic or career goals. At Portobello we nurture each student’s ability to help them to achieve their best, whatever that may be. 

Danielle Horgan-Coghlan decided to change her career by gaining her Level 5 SNA qualification at Portobello. 

She continued working, had two young children as well as a newborn baby and found the confidence to complete her work experience and now secure a permanent role as an AIM support worker.

Danielle explains how her tutor, Samantha Cooney, built her confidence to be able to complete the course and move into a brand-new career.

“We were very lucky with the tutor we had she was really, really good. For someone like me who was gone from education for years, I did a complete career change, I had small baby at home, two older kids as well.

“Straight away she said, ‘don’t panic’, she was very reassuring, I think she built up everyone's confidence to do it and keep going with it.

"She gave very real-life examples to make it easy to understand the course. It wasn’t all this language and terminology that you wouldn’t understand.

“Samantha was unbelievable. One of the last nights of the course, she offered to stay back for an hour afterward for anyone that wanted to do mock interviews and help people with questions or anything.

"Two other girls with me did avail of that, for some people like me I hadn’t been for an interview in over 10 or 11 years, and things have changed. We always say how lucky we were to have had Samantha as a tutor.

“We were really prepared about protecting ourselves with GDPR, never to be on your own, intimate care, you are doing a sensitive job, we were prepared in that way, she had given us so many of her own experiences and life stories and we did the theory and she’d link it to reality and things that had happened, it was easy simple language to understand.

"It was a real common-sense approach taken, I found it really good. 

In the beginning, we would say how are we going to write all these words in the assignments?’, and it turned out that we were so prepared and built up for it that I ended up cutting mine by a few hundred words, she boosted our confidence so much. 

Samantha gave us mock interviews, she told so many positive stories of past students she had tutored before us and how they are working now, she gave us the websites to register for subbing, she told us how to get your foot in the door and prepared us for that.  

She gave us so many links for TedTalks and things like that that if I have bad days, I still watch them and see what strategy they would use in a situation, all these things that you keep with you now.  

She gave us all extra information, even though the course was short, but we got so much information and links that we could use in our own time.   

She was so understanding of children with special needs and passionate about it. She said every night of college, ‘all behavior is communication’ and even today at work I thought of this.  

She taught us valuable information, it was simple but that is very important.

If we were unsure of anything she reassured us we could email her; she was just amazing. 

Samantha understood the complex needs of so many children and I think she equipped us all for going out to face because she built our confidence up so much. There are so many different needs that kids can have and how you approach them, what’s right, the legislation, what you’re meant to do versus reality and what can happen. You weren’t going out there with just textbook material, you a very versatile training approach,” she said.

After completing her Level 5 SNA qualification at Portobello, Danielle now works as an AIM support worker, read about her role here

Portobello Institute offers Level 5 and Level 6 SNA qualifications with a range of delivery methods catering to Covid-19 restrictions, find out about our upcoming courses here.

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