Across this entire week we have been publishing a series of posts to highlight the topic of care experienced students.
Helen Canning, Director of Student Services, started the series by writing about how the College is supporting care experienced young people, after signing the Pledge to Listen and undergoing Corporate Parenting training delivered by Who Cares? Scotland.
Then Robert Foster, Who Cares? Scotland’s Corporate Parenting Officer, blogged about his role in working with colleges and universities to improve the outcomes of care experienced young people.
Yesterday we welcomed care leaver and Who Cares? Scotland ambassador Ashley Cameron to the blog.
We are now delighted to to hear from a current care experienced student at Ayrshire College, Amy-Beth Miah.
“I left school with nothing. I was leaving the care system and was in a bad way. Yet any time I had a breakdown, the College would help me out. College was always my pick-me-up – any time I fell down they’d be there to catch me and help me back up. Not only have they helped me decide what I want to do with my life, they’ve given me the driving force to make it a reality.”
Amy-Beth Miah is a Social Sciences student who began at the College on a HIVE (Hope, Inspiration and Vision in Education) course.
The HIVE is a bespoke learning space at Ayrshire College which offers a range of access programmes for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years. The courses are designed to prepare young people, who have challenges in their lives and who may previously have had negative experiences of education for a range of different reasons, for further college courses and employment.
“Being a care leaver, I’ve noticed there are a lot of people who have left care that end up far too institutionalised. They go from being in care to being in secure units and often end up in jail. I know people who have come out of jail and re-offended deliberately to get back inside, because they have nothing out here. They don’t know how to pay a bill, or how to fill out an application form.
“I want to change that; an ambition that stems from my own experiences.”
Amy-Beth has set up a care experienced support group for students at the college who had experienced care.
She is now studying an HNC Social Sciences course and has ambitions to study at The Open University once she has completed her HND.
She dreams of being able to offer effective support to other care leavers once she graduates.
Much like Bobby McCorriston, an Employability and Engagement Officer at the College who delivers the Kilmarnock Prince’s Trust programme, has done for her.
“He really is my hero. He’s been a huge help to me. Even though I had all of my outside life going on, he didn’t turn his back on me. His attitude was never a case of ‘you can’t’, but rather ‘you can – and here’s how.’”
Amy-Beth was speaking after the College signed the pledge to support young people brought up in care after becoming the first college in Scotland to receive corporate parenting training delivered by the Who Cares? Scotland charity.