Deanna McKellar is 17 years old, and lives in Chorlton. She is feeling more positive while being at the training centre and is building her confidence and social skills after years of home schooling following a stream of bullying incidents. Deanna had been home schooled for a number of years, she left main stream education as a result of constant bullying, which had not been addressed sufficiently by her school. With home schooling, Deanna spent a lot of time at home and was not used to interacting with her peers. Her confidence in herself was also low, which was an issue that needed addressing.

On Deanna’s start in the study programme at Stockport training centre, she was included in “non-accredited learning” activities, which eased her into the programme and helped her develop new friendships. To ease Deanna into social situations she wasn’t familiar or entirely comfortable with, a bespoke programme was created for Deanna with qualifications in maths, English, employability and retail. Soon after, Deanna was also allocated hours for work experience.

During a meeting with the placement consultant, it was established that Deanna was interested in following a career pathway into retail, particularly clothing and fashion. Deanna agreed that it would be a good idea to start a work experience placement in a charity shop. This way she could build on her confidence while learning vital skills such as customer service, cash handling, merchandising and stock control. Deanna has been attending a placement at Sue Ryder charity shop for the last 6 weeks and is really enjoying her time there. She has learned a wealth of new skills, and has greatly improved her self-confidence and social abilities.

Her manager, Jo Young, commented on Deanna’s progress: “She’s a fantastic asset to the shop and all the other staff and volunteers, she’s friendly and helpful to customers and nothing is too much trouble. She helped with the window display for the shop and she’s now fully trained on the till. She’s doing a brilliant job - she’s punctual, tidy and great!”

Deanna herself commented on the positive change she’s made: “I would recommend GC Education & Skills to people I know. I have been given support all the way on my program which has helped me a lot with my confidence.”