The team at Romsey Mill has helped young mum find ‘a better version’ of herself
Here are some comments from a recent learner, a young parent experiencing difficulties around the birth of a child:
“I have been attending various courses at Romsey Mill. The most recent is the Shine course, where you find out about what sort of person you are. It helps you to grow your feeling of self-worth.”
“Without Romsey Mill’s help I don’t know what would have happened. Thankfully they were there for me when I most needed help – and now my life is the complete opposite of how it was at that time.”
“I have now got a purpose for my future and I am starting to think about a career. The help that I have had from Romsey Mill has been so important in my life since I was pregnant. I lost myself on the way, but I have now found myself again – I’m a better version of myself.”

Taking the first exciting steps to transition to a new career as a professional gardener

A learner at Bottisham Village College Adult Learning started her pursuit of a career change when she enquired about a route to become a professional gardener. She was already undertaking her RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. The recommended next course was RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture. This learner gained an immense amount of confidence in relation to the practicality of the garden design process – specifically with measuring and drawing to scale.

This learner found the course to be a comprehensive and well-structured. She also mentioned how the tutor was both encouraging and knowledgeable. This course has also complemented her previous study.

The outcome is that her studies have aided her development in professional horticulture. She has high ambitions of being successful in securing employment as a professional gardener in the near future!
Joseph… completed a successful traineeship at Switch Now

Joseph has achieved moving from an unpaid role to a paid role at The Hub, Little Paxton through doing a traineeship with Switch Now.
Joseph says:
‘I wanted to do my traineeship to increase my skills and lead to employment in the future.’
‘Now I have a paid job which makes me happy!’
‘I am now more confident to speak to people I don’t know and ask questions and I am more confident in managing my time.’
Joseph talks about a typical day at work.
- I was trusted to be a key holder to my workplace building at The Hub, Little Paxton
- I manage cleaning products to ensure I don’t run out
- I complete an assessment of the building each day to plan my cleaning routine
- I use my health and safety knowledge to work safely
- I enjoy continuing to work on my maths/English
- Switch Now staff came to see me at work regularly and helped me when I had any problems.

VB... one of a group of learners supported by the Traveller Health Team

For a family going through a very difficult time, a mother learning and working towards getting a driving licence helped the family regain their independence…

VB’s husband suffered a life changing injury as he lost an eye and is now rapidly losing the sight in his remaining eye. Due to his injury his driving license was taken away, the family had limited funds and they found themselves needing to rely on family and friends to get them to hospital appointments.

VB was tutored by the Traveller Health Team to prepare for her theory test. They used a tablet and aps to help VB to learn.

Further difficult challenges faced the family whilst VB was studying. It took a lot of perseverance for VB to pass her test but she achieved this on her 6th attempt. This determination led her to receive an award at Adult Learning and Skills #BeInspired.

VB is ready to start her driving lessons! This is a step on the way to the family regaining independence and lessening their isolation.

Thrive Dynamic Mindfulness course a t Swavesey VC last term

‘I just wanted to thank you again for the courses I’ve just finished.
I feel like a different person compared to where I was at when we started in September and I have loads of things I’m doing  / can try to take me forward from here. I’ve completely lost any feelings of anxiety which I was having and I feel healthier and happier all round.

I’m booked into the March emotional detox, along with a friend, so will see you then. Many thanks for all your efforts. Much appreciated!’

Abakar's story

Abakar joined classes at October half term, he is a joy to teach although his maths vocabulary is limited due to English not being his first language; he takes copious notes to research at home and is an active member of the class.

"I came to the UK in 2001 from Sudan where I attended school between the ages of 12-18.  The first thing I did was attend ESOL classes at Cherry Hinton Hall but they didn’t give a qualification so I stopped going.  I am a taxi driver in the city centre and work around my classes, I’m doing maths and English functional skills. I found out about the classes when I got a leaflet through the door.  I have 3 children, 2 go to Ridgefield primary school and my eldest son goes to Parkside, he is surprised dad goes to class but he does share his homework with me especially his maths, we are both at the same level, it’s a race to get to level 2! I want to go to university when I get my qualifications, I like science, perhaps I will study something to do with medicine"

Caroline's story

Caroline joined the maths and English functional skills courses last September, she lives in Great Abbington and travels into Cambridge to attend class twice a week, she takes three buses to get to class.  Caroline has a spiky educational profile, when we first met her she assessed at Entry 3 for maths and English, she initially lacked confidence and was a quiet member of both groups. Since September her confidence and aspirations have grown, she has befriended another class member who is at risk of homelessness and who is isolated from her own family giving her support and encouragement to attend.  Caroline’s long term goal is to support her children through education and gain employment.  Caroline speaks 6 languages.

“I was born in South Africa during the Apartheid period. During that time, there were two separate systems of education: one for whites only and another for blacks only called Bantu Education. The education offered to blacks was poor and did not equip them with even the basic literacy and numeracy skills.

When we moved to the UK, it was my life goal to improve my English and maths. Due to family commitments as a mother of three, I could not start earlier. I heard about the classes offered by Parkside Federation Academies  and decided to apply. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to complete the lessons,  I have so far been enjoying the classes and benefiting a lot. The teachers have been very helpful. I have become a volunteer at my children’s school which has helped me to make friends in the village I live in. My goal is to go on to study for a GCSE in maths and English and then use that to seek employment as a tutor, or continue to further studies.”

Digital Photography – Beginners, Adult Learning and Skills, St Ivo School
I learned about my camera from nothing to manual use. It was a great course enhanced by the tutor's instruction and guidance. I am now much more confident in using my camera…. and interacting with people.

I enjoyed the 'homework' as it meant weekends out and about!

I now have another interest for retirement and I'm inspired to enrol on Beginnners Plus digital photography.

I have become more confident with my camera. And I hope the photographs I take at work will now be better.

Watercolour  - Adult Learning and Skills, St Ivo School
Mixing with a group of other artists and the tutor, to help and encourage is more inspiring than doing it at home on your own. I wanted to get back started into art after a long period out due to ill health. I feel that it has helped to learn new techniques in watercolour as a group which has built our confidence up and also helped us to become friends with the same interest. I have felt I have gained more confidence in myself as a person and confident in my art.

I learned many techniques ranging from drawing through to watercolour painting. There was detailed guidance through practical demonstration through to individual tuition within a secure and comfortable environment. It was extremely enjoyable and I feel encouraged to undertake more (painting) activity both at home and by attending further courses.