Rikki our Education and Early Years Student of the Year, stands as a shining example of passion and dedication in the field of childcare and education. At the age of 36, she embarked on a transformative journey, leaving behind a long career in retail to pursue her true calling.  

Alongside her full-time job at a primary school in Worle, Rikki studied for the Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning course, juggling her studies alongside her responsibilities as a carer for her daughter and niece. Rikki embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly, despite initial apprehensions about returning to education, "I felt that I was unable to return due to finances and general life expectations. I was also afraid to return as I didn’t enjoy learning at school."   

Rikki’s motivation stemmed from a desire for change and a longing to fulfil her potential in a field where her heart truly lies. Her determination and the support of the College staff have propelled her forward. "My biggest challenge was my confidence or lack of it. I didn’t believe in myself and my abilities. I felt fully supported in what I was doing whilst at college, without that support I am not sure I would have achieved anything," she admits. 

Rikki’s commitment to her education was unwavering and her tutor speaks glowingly of her impact, highlighting her refreshing perspective, passion for inclusive practice, and consistent dedication to her studies. Rikki's innate ability to connect with children, particularly those with additional needs, has been evident throughout her studies and work experience. Her infectious enthusiasm and caring nature make her a true asset to any team. 

Reflecting on her time at Weston College, Rikki remembers, “Feeling a sense of achievement. Being in a classroom environment with people who share similar aspirations and goals. Meeting new people. Feeling supported. And being recognised for working hard and winning student of the year."  

Rikki’s journey, marked by resilience and dedication, serves as an inspiration to aspiring adult learners seeking to carve out a new path in life. Rikki proves that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.  

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