Christopher Phelps, 19, first joined Carshalton College in 2014. After leaving school prematurely, Christopher found the vocational option a great way to explore different career possibilities.
Christopher struggled with the school environment due to anger management issues. At school, Christopher joined the School Link Programme and attended weekly taster sessions at Carshalton College.
The programme offers vocational work based training to Year 10 and 11 learners from local schools. It provides opportunities for students to learn new practical and personal skills, gain an insight into a vocational area and hopefully assist in making a decision at 16 years about progression onto further education, training or employment.
The taster session in carpentry made Christopher realise he liked being part of a College and enjoyed the construction course. Christopher enrolled on the CSkills Multi-skills Diploma but found the first year tough so the Student Support Team met Christopher and began a mentoring programme.
Each week, he would meet Michael Kerridge, a Student Support Advisor, for regular chats to support Christopher, listen to him and help when things became too much.
Michael spoke about supporting Christopher;
“We have an open door policy for students to talk to us when they need support. Meeting Christopher each week let him have the opportunity to tell us things that were worrying him, help him deal with situations in a good way and build his confidence. We have been able to work through personal problems that were a barrier to him completing his studies. Christopher is now flourishing. He is progressing so well studying bricklaying and has come such a long way since starting at the College.”
With this help from Michael and his tutors, Christopher completed the CSkills Multi-skills Diploma in Construction. The course provided a basic introduction into Brickwork, Carpentry, Plumbing, Plastering and Electrical trade skills. The bricklaying part of the course was the part Christopher enjoyed most and he followed this course with the CSkills Level 1 Diploma in Brickwork and has just started the Level 2 in September.
Sean Henry, his Bricklaying tutor, has seen Christopher excel in developing his bricklaying skills and been impressed with his dedication and enthusiasm for learning.
Christopher was awarded student of the month during the Level 1 Diploma for the quality of his practical work and the effort he has put into tasks. He is looking forward to the practical work on the Level 2 diploma which will include constructing an English Garden Wall, Flemish Garden Wall, Stretcher Bond Pier, Semi-circular Arch and a Segmental Arch.
Talking about his time at College and the courses, Christopher said;
“I have had great teachers at the College and made lots of friends. Talking to staff like Michael from Student Support and Sean has made things much easier and made me enjoy my time learning new skills. I really enjoy bricklaying and the work experience I have done outside College.”