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Lisa Richardson

Sunderland, UK

Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship

Lisa Richardson works at a college which is part of a Trust, teaching food technology to learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN). She decided to study for the Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship alongside her full-time job, which is elevating her confidence and inspiring her to do more within her role. When she graduates, she hopes to progress in her career and become a teacher of food technology and hospitality.

I’ve been employed by Cedars Trust – an education provision for those with specialist needs – for six years. I’d worked in a few other educational roles before this, including a Teaching Assistant then Higher Level Teaching Assistant position at a primary school, as well owning my own businesses. Since starting the Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship, I’m now teaching full-time at Cedars College. I work in a setting for learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN), teaching food technology and safety in the kitchen, plus offering support in P.E. lessons.

The apprenticeship has really helped me gain confidence to do more within my role. Since starting my studying, I’ve been able to educate our learners about sustainability, which is having an impact on the way they think about the food we cook and the environment. I was successful in applying for funding to feed the local community. I’ve held a Macmillan Coffee Morning and two pop-up shops to raise money for worthy causes and our learners (the pop-up shops helped towards the cost of residentials). This year, my role will involve teaching hospitality too. I’m hoping that once I graduate, I can progress towards becoming a teacher of food technology and hospitality.

Having an asynchronous week has been beneficial, and allotting myself time to complete assignments on an evening has helped me manage the balance between studying for the apprenticeship and working full-time. There have been moments of self-doubt where I’ve believed what I produce isn’t good enough, but I’ve been lucky to have a supportive tutor and a lovely group of apprentices – speaking to them has helped me overcome my doubts.

If anyone was thinking of taking on an apprenticeship at the University of Sunderland, I’d say definitely do it. I’m 52 this year and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and the confidence I’ve gained. You’re never too old to learn and the support you get from the University is amazing! It’s been a life changing experience and I’m so pleased I decided to do this.”

Published 30 January 2024

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