ericWhen Erihs Janovskis arrived in Northampton from Latvia nine years ago, barely able to speak the language, he wasn’t sure what the future held.

With no real idea of a possible career, the hard-working student set about learning English and enrolled on an ESOL course, which he passed with flying colours.

He saved enough money to send home to help his mother buy her own flat, dramatically improving her quality of life.

“Latvia is a very poor country” he said, “it is difficult to earn good money. In England I knew that if I worked hard I could earn 10 times what I could in Latvia.

“The problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

Erihs, or Eric as he has become known to his friends, found himself working at a local food manufacturer and quickly established him as a valued member of the team, earning a reputation for his problem-solving abilities.

He was recommended for an apprenticeship programme and begun an engineering course at Northampton College.

Eric impressed tutors with his insatiable appetite for learning, staying behind to ask extra questions or practice newly-acquired skills.

He was singled out by his employer as a shining example of a hard-working and committed worker and was put forward for a national apprenticeship award. Out of 470 entrants across the country, Eric won.

Eric continued his studies enrolling on a Level 3 BTEC Diploma course in Electronic/Electrical Engineering. Throughout the two years of this course Eric has consistently produced a very high standard of work achieving Distinction grades in all of the units.

Eric’s course tutor Ian Mundy said: “He hasn’t just produced enough work to satisfy the criteria he has consistently gone beyond what was required.”

For Eric’s final year project he chose to solve a real world problem that his company was having with the ultrasonic cutting tools used to cut the sandwiches they produce.

When the machine was broken down for cleaning, if the parts were not reassembled and aligned correctly the cutting tool would be broken, this problem was costing the company thousands of pounds a year.

Eric has produced a fully documented project that is so good it is going to be used as an exemplar of the quality of work required for a distinction grade.

Ian Mundy said: “This is the best project that I have ever assessed. Not only in terms of the level and detail of the documentation but also in the amount of work he has done to produce the solution in his workplace.

“It is a testimony to the quality of his work that it will actually be used by his employer once it has passed the stringent safety checks required.”

Eric, 28, said: “I am hoping to carry on my studies and progress onto higher levels. I enjoy it here and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I have received.”
diane mould resizedDiane Mould, aged 65, first started learning to read when her husband retired. Diane has overcome her battle with dyslexia passing her entry level one English course and has now progressed to entry level two English at Northampton College’s Daventry campus. She has even won an award for completing the national Six Book Challenge scheme.

She said: “Being able to read has made a huge difference to my life, not only in terms of reading books but just everyday life. I can now understand the signs in the shops and out in the streets, it’s transformed my life. I am very grateful to everyone at the college. It’s given me a new lease of life.”

Her teacher, Sara Mitchell, said: “I am extremely pleased for Diane and proud that she has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time. She found the opportunity to extend her reading while completing the Six Book Challenge a very satisfying experience and plans to continue with her classes at Northampton College through to next year. Reading is an invaluable skill, not just from a learning point of view, but for pleasure, information, and for the wider opportunities that naturally occur.”
millie rolfe pictureMillie Rolfe studies Level 3 childcare and currently has a placement at NicBec Day Nursery, working towards her ambition of one day managing her own nursery.

Working as a baby room leader, Millie enjoys taking the children on trips to the seaside or the zoo.

She said: “I have always liked to play with my younger siblings and get a bit messy, so playing with the children at the Nursery and getting messy with paints is a dream job for me.

“Working with children is so energetic and I have found that this style of learning suits me much more than classroom work. I have also found that it has helped me to build more independence as you are earning money, getting hands on experience and a qualification all in one.

“Studying the Childcare course at Northampton College has given me greater understanding of child development and how to get the best from each individual child. I now know how to recognise the different milestones in a child’s progression and how to encourage them to progress even further.

“I have received a brilliant service from Northampton College and I plan to go on to university to complete a course in early childcare studies. This Apprenticeship has helped me to clarify that pursuing a career in the child care profession is 100 per cent what I want to do.”
alisa turcanuWhen Alisa Turcanu arrived in Northampton from Moldova two years ago, the thought of studying at University would have been a distant dream.

The language barrier and an unfamiliar education system meant she faced an uphill battle but it is a battle she has overcome, thanks to a combination of hard work and expert teaching at Northampton College.

She has achieved a grade B in her GCSE Maths and a C in English, alongside a Level 3 BTEC in Business, to allow her to continue her studies with a degree in International Business at university.

Alisa said: “The teachers have been fantastic. I have got on really well with them; they were good fun, approachable and made learning enjoyable. They explained things really well and that meant I was able to understand everything and get the grades I needed.

“Coming over to England was very strange at first but I quickly made lots of friends and that was a real help. I had people around me showing me how things worked in England and I really appreciated that.

“I have constantly been studying since I arrived so it is nice that the hard work is paying off and now I can look forward to university.”
megan ducker pictureMegan is currently completing an Apprenticeship as a Finishing Technician at Sandwell, a specialised surface engineering company based in Towcester.

She said: “My apprenticeship has been really rewarding and I feel so much more motivated to learn than I did at school. It’s great to earn a qualification and progress in a career you love, especially when it helps you to become financially independent and confident in your own skills.

“When I started my Apprenticeship at Sandwell I found that it was better for me to learn from experience rather than being shown on paper. This hands-on approach has enabled me to learn about the practical elements of my role as well as improving my ability to apply this knowledge to my studies. My college tutor is very approachable and understanding. He has supported me throughout my Apprenticeship and I know that I can go to him with any questions.

“I feel extremely lucky to work within a team that is so welcoming and friendly. There are a number of talented female engineers who encourage me and help to create a great working environment. Some of my friends were sceptical about my decision to complete an Apprenticeship, but I decided to throw myself in at the deep end. I am so glad that I did because now they realise that it was the right choice for me because I am doing something I love.

“I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of my job and once I have progressed enough in my current role, my dream is to join the RAF and work in aerodynamics.”

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