At Side by Side its our tenth birthday in April and we can’t believe how quickly those 10 years have flown by.
It seems like only yesterday that, after much encouragement from colleagues in FE and Early Years, Side by Side was launched by Joy Scadden and Helen Horsley. Joy and Helen had already ‘clocked up’ many years’ experience in these sectors and they were looking for a new challenge, with a strong focus on improving the quality of the workforce within the early years and schools, and, as an independent training provider, they would be able move away from the bureaucracy that exists within large training institutions which makes them reactive and slow to change rather proactive and responsive. In addition, our Centre name was chosen to emphasise the learning experience Joy and Helen wanted to create, not just for learners but also for employers who are that vital component in adult ‘on-the-job’ training, particularly apprenticeships.
Looking back, we can proudly say that the last 10 years have been filled with achievements. Firstly, and most importantly, we’re still here!! Due to significant government-led funding and structure changes within the FE sector, many independent training providers have struggled to survive.
Secondly, our team has been boringly consistent!! Julie Downton has been on the team since day 1 and it has been wonderful to see her grow and develop alongside her learners. At one time Julie refused point blank to get up in front of a class and teach but now, with a Level 5 Diploma in Adult Teaching under her belt, she is confident and brimming with enthusiasm. Most of our team have been ‘home grown’ gaining their assessor and IQA qualifications with us and then joining our merry band. When studying qualifications, it is so important to have a consistent assessor/teacher throughout your course to help you achieve and this is something we have actively promoted through high staff retention. We also work hard on our team dynamic which is important for strong communication and cohesion, another factor rarely found in larger training institutions.
Next, lets look at the real success stories over the last 10 years…
- 238 learners qualified in Early Years
- 166 learners qualified as Teaching Assistants
In addition, we have trained
- Level 3 assessors
- Internal Quality Assurers
- Team Leaders
- Play Workers
- Business Administrators
- Countless qualifications in English, Maths and ICT
All of whom are working in West Dorset early years settings, schools and the ambulance service and contributing to the local economy. It should also be said that a large proportion of these qualifications have been funded through apprenticeship funding.
So how are we celebrating our special birthday? We would like to hear from all of you who have achieved qualifications with Side by Side in the last 10 years – tell us what you are doing now and how your qualifications have underpinned your career in the early years and schools sectors – and to thank you for your support, we will be giving away the new NCFE CACHE L3 SENCO qualifications to the first 10 responses, each worth £150, as our contribution to continuing to raise standards in the early years and schools sectors over the next 10 years!!