Tia joined St. Helens training centre in February 2018 with the aim of upgrading her functional skills in maths and English while also gaining work experience. With one-to-one support and development, Tia successfully passed the functional skills level 2 maths qualification in May and the English level 2 in June 2018.

With regards to work experience, in the first instance Tia was not at all sure what she wanted to do. Upon discussion with her placement consultant Janet Riley, Tia expressed an interest in hair and beauty. Consequently, Janet contacted a local employer in this sector, with Tia commencing her placement the following week. However, after a couple of weeks of work experience, she realised this was not the industry for her.

As further discussions between Tia and Janet took place, it was suggested Tia try dog grooming due to her love of animals, especially dogs. Tia was interested in this idea, and Janet contacted Mrs Kirsty Holden, the proprietor of Furry Tails dog groomers in Newton-le-Willows. Tia commenced her work experience placement there on 22nd May 2018, where she gained new skills and a surge in confidence. Tia successfully completed her placement hours by 20th July 2018.

Because of Tia progressing so well at her work experience placement, while also settling into the role and building up solid working relationships with the staff and owners of the dogs alike; Tia requested if she could remain at Furry Tails. This would be for the duration of the summer programme and into autumn. Mrs Holden has been so impressed with Tia that she had no hesitation in agreeing to Tia continuing her training and she is encouraging Tia to continue with the profession through applying for an apprenticeship once she achieves her GCSE’s in maths and English. Tia intends to remain at The Growth Company and is enrolling for these subjects in September.

Tia Hardaker, said: "I have learnt how to wash and dry dogs in the right way and how they should be treated while they are being groomed and how to treat their skin with care. I am really loving it here and hope to stay longer."

Janet Riley, placement consultant at St. Helens training centre said: "All the staff at St. Helens training centre have no doubts that Tia will achieve her required results due to her commitment and dedication, we're all looking forward to working with her in the forthcoming academic year."