Positive change, new responsibilities and increased confidence

Posted on 6th Aug 2018 in School News, RNIB

Read some inspiring stories from students at RNIB College Loughborough...

At RNIB College Loughborough we offer specialist support to people with vision impairment, as well as those with other disabilities.

We’re a small, friendly day and residential college where each staff member wants to empower you to achieve your full potential. We can help you to move on to your next step.

Our Further Education offers you opportunities to:

  • develop your independence
  • prepare for work, volunteering or training
  • build your personal life skills
  • learn about looking after yourself
  • get out into the local community.

You can either learn through our enterprise-based programme or study for a mainstream course at Loughborough College, located next door.

Enterprises programme

If you follow our enterprises programme, you’ll learn practical skills and gain work experience in our enterprises. These are our student-led businesses where you’ll be doing meaningful jobs in real settings:

  • Bell Bar café
  • conference centre
  • eBay shop
  • arts centre
  • craft studio
  • shop
  • college office

Mainstream courses

We offer the opportunity to develop essential life skills at RNIB College alongside a qualification through Loughborough College.

Loughborough College has a wide range of academic and vocational programmes available from Foundation Learning to A Levels and equivalent. Courses could include:

  • GCSE Maths and English
  • AS and A2 Level qualifications
  • Vocational courses at Level 1, 2 and 3.

You will have a dedicated personal tutor at RNIB College to support you. We offer a range of specialist services and advice to help you with things like accessing curriculum materials.

We can also build additional activities around your mainstream course to make a full-time programme of study.

  • Needs we support:
  • Vision impairment
  • Learning difficulties and disabilities
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC)
  • Physical disabilities
  • Communication difficulties
  • Mild hearing problems
  • Additional healthcare needs, such as epilepsy
  • Additional emotional and behavioural difficulties

Charlie’s story

“Charlie is in his third year at RNIB College and I have nothing but high praise for them and the help they have given to him.

“Charlie was a very anxious young man when he first started. The college worked with us and listened to Charlie’s concerns. They immediately put one-to-one support in place to help Charlie settle in and overcome his worries.

“Charlie has an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and tends to isolate himself, especially when anxious. His teacher and I worked together and with some gentle persuasion we were able to encourage Charlie to mix more with his peers and not sit on his own as much. He now has more confidence and staff at the RNIB College know how to reassure him so he can get on with his day.

“The College is helping Charlie to become more independent. He’s developed many skills and has gained some qualifications. He has worked in the College office and the eBay shop with staff that encourage and push him to reach his full potential. Not an easy task when Charlie would prefer to be relaxing, reading or playing on the computer!

“Charlie is now in his final year and is on a Supported Internship programme out of the college setting. He is fully supported by RNIB and learning more new skills.

“I would recommend the RNIB College to others in an instant. It is a warm, calm and friendly atmosphere as soon as you enter the building. They understand Charlie and meet his needs, whilst doing their utmost to help him strive for a promising future and becoming a valid member of society.”

Diane – Charlie’s mum

“Anna, my teacher, has helped me with my problems at college. I have learnt new skills in the college office and the eBay shop. I enjoy going on the karaoke at lunch time and singing my favourite songs. I have met some nice friends there too like Pete, Lewis, Jamal, Alisha, Libby and my old friend Nathan. I also worked in Sip & Surf and am now working at Diam in reception with help from Naomi, Doris and Louise.”

Charlie

Lauren’s story

Lauren struggled at school, but her prospects changed when she came to live and study at RNIB College Loughborough.

Lauren says: “It was because of the emotional support from staff, Learning Support Assistants, teachers, tutors, that I was able to move on from where I was, and think ‘Do you know what? I can do it’.”

“I like the fact that they promote independence, but with support if and when you need it, so you have the chance to develop. They are great because they teach you a load of different skills and prepare you for the real world.”

Lauren qualified in Health and Social Care and continues her studies independently at university today. She hopes to specialise in working with children and young people who have been through abuse and trauma.

Jamal’s story

Jamal started with us in 2015 and wanted to build his confidence as he was a little apprehensive in his new environment. We focused on giving him opportunities to communicate with other students. Jamal’s long term goals were to get involved in the community and to do some voluntary work. He loves animals so in the first year he secured a work placement at Manor Farm which helped him develop his work skills. Jamal got on really well here and received great feedback and gradually took on more tasks.

Jamal enjoyed working in our café, the Bell Bar, both in the kitchen and front of house hospitality work. He gained a range of transferrable skills to use in other work places. He was able to make hot drinks, serve customers and keep the café clean.

Jamal is now able to do more tasks independently. He has built up his reading, writing and numeracy skills which in turn helped his confidence. He enjoyed wrapping the parcels in our eBay shop and going out to the post office to send the parcel. Jamal has attended activities at the local leisure centre, particularly enjoying tennis and step aerobics.

Our transitions team worked with the local McDonalds to develop a Supported Internship for Jamal. The Supported Internship is an education programme based for two days with an employer and for one day in College. Jamal has made a great start and is really enjoying it. He’s working in a hospitality host role, keeping the restaurant clean and tidy and greeting customers, following on from his Bell Bar café experience. On Wednesdays when they are not in College the Interns get out in the community for independent travel training and have been practising travelling by bus and train to Leicester.

Thinking about his Internship, Jamal said: “I like doing the maths lessons as it helps me count the money for the bus. I like trips on the bus and train.”

“I have noticed a positive change in Jamal and feel he has developed a great deal since coming to the RNIB College. He seems to be really enjoying the supported internship at McDonald’s. Every time I ask him what he likes about College and his Internship, he says, ‘I love it’! What more could you want?!’ – Rosie, Jamal’s mum

Read more about RNIB College Loughborough...