Reece Sickling first arrived at Leeds City College on a taster day for a Childcare course. He was a quiet, anxious 14-year-old boy, the only learner from his high school in a room full of girls. His teacher was very nervous about leaving him, but he was determined that he wanted a career working with children. He joined in with the activities, worked hard on the tasks and was so shy that he barely spoke all day, but when his teacher returned to pick him up and asked him how it went, he grinned from ear to ear.
He has spent the last six years at Leeds City College developing into a confident and excellent childcare practitioner. He is a role model to his peers and to the children he cares for.
Reece is the only male student on the course (out of 48) and is a fantastic example and role model for practitioners. As a male in the sector, Reece is a valuable member of his cohort and is able to share experiences from a different perspective. He always has a positive attitude and supports and guides other members of his class, taking on the role of class representative at an external quality audit group.
Emma Langford, Deputy Head of Childcare at Leeds City College, said: “It has not always been an easy journey for Reece, he comes from a busy household, with members of his immediate family having a variety of learning and medical needs. These experiences have brought out his nurturing, caring qualities. He supports his mum to care for his four year old cousin and his younger brother who has autism. His older brother was diagnosed with cancer and is battling with chemotherapy. Reece has found it especially upsetting to see his big brother so unwell and still always manages to arrive at college ready to learn.
“He found the transition from school to full time college challenging at first. Organising his classwork, managing his time and assessment deadlines were all new experiences for Reece. He had to work very hard to develop the independent learning skills he needed in order to organise himself, use his time and class work effectively to submit his best work and meet his deadlines.”
Reece successfully secured a placement at a local primary school as part of his course. He was nervous at first but his consistent positive attitude and focus towards his studies ensured that he was able to overcome these nerves, develop his personal skills and present himself as a hardworking, conscientious, kind young man.
Workplace Assessor Kirsty Smith, said: “Reece formed positive relationships with children and staff and developed skills in planning and facilitating meaningful activities to support children’s development and working as part of a team. He made such a good impression that the school offered to continue his placement. His level of commitment has been mirrored in a further placement in a day nursery where nursery staff have commented on his brilliant interactions with children, his carefully thought out planned activities and how much the children adore him. He is attentive, calm and commands their respect.”
Reece has worked hard consistently throughout his journey at Leeds City College and particularly during his last two years whilst training to be an Early Years Educator, he has shown such great progress in his academic abilities.
Kaye Rogers, Programme Manager at Leeds City College added: “Reece is always willing to go the extra mile and has been involved in a number of fund raising activities at college. He has already been offered part time employment, with a view of securing a full time position as soon as he completes his qualification. In fact, his work placement has waited for him to qualify for the past two years to be able to offer him a job. We are very proud of the lovely young man that Reece has grown into and look forward to hearing about the amazing path he has to follow.”