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How PEAK's Apprenticeship Changed My Life (Part 2)

Another fantastic story - this time from one of our former apprentices, Robbyn:

Hi, my name is Robbyn and I would like to share my journey since joining Physical Education & Active Kids Apprenticeship Programme in 2016 and the aspirations it has given me within my career progression.


After completing my GCSE’s, I enrolled at St Roberts of Newminster Sixth form in Washington studying Psychology, Maths, Applied Science and Geography. To be honest, I was rather lost in what I wanted to do as a career and my main goal was to get to the end of the 2 years, completing my studies with hopes a career path would come to me by then. However, when seeing the advertisement of a PE apprenticeship with PEAK something motivated to me to apply. It was something completely new to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed PE in school, so I thought why not!


When gaining an interview, I was invited to a local Primary School in Hetton-Le-Hole in which I was introduced to the Head Teacher, Deputy Head and Dave. I was incredibly nervous but enthused about the position, which made it clear education was where I aspired to work within. On the same evening, I received a call from Dave confirming my success of gaining the position with a lot of positive feedback of the impression I gave at my interview. This gave me the determination to uphold this attitude as the minimal expectations for my school and academic presence throughout the apprenticeship.


Within the initial training week, I was introduced to many playground games and completed a first aid course which developed my knowledge of health and safety which could impact learning and school experiences. Additionally, this week also gave me an opportunity to develop friendships with the other apprentices which created a strong support system for the rest of the year. I am thankful for this time the apprentices were together during our training as I am still very close to some of the other apprentices currently. Following from this, I started my journey in my school for the last 2 weeks of term. During this time, I observed many lessons in a wide range of subjects, assisted with organising sports day and end of term assembly’s, attended school fixtures and assisted in morning and afterschool extra-curricular clubs. The initial 2 weeks in school before the summer holidays gave me an insight to the school day, my timetable and the school system to prepare for increased responsibility of teaching more PE and assisting within other subjects in the school when returning in September.


Over the school holidays, the holiday camps organised by PEAK gave me so much experience in teaching different sports and developing my personal skills (teamwork, leadership and communication), which contributed towards the success of my school planning and delivery. Once coming to the end of my apprenticeship, Dave asked me to be present at the Sunderland College information evening to represent the role and answer any questions to help possible future apprentices to understand the course and the position in general. Additionally, in the last few weeks of the course I was awarded the Sunderland College Sport Apprentice of the Year (2017), which my college mentor put me forward for my positive attitudes, attendance and progression both academically and within my school. With achieving this, I was invited to the Apprenticeship awards, which was a 3-course meal with a celebration event to award the successful students of the academic year. Although the apprenticeship ended early July, my placement school asked me to stay until the end of the academic year to continue to support in lessons and assist with the organisation of school celebrations.


Once completing the apprenticeship, I gained a place at the University of Sunderland to complete an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and Sports Coaching. I was overwhelmed at this offer as it was a new course and something which I did not think was possible for me to achieve. Just as my apprenticeship, I was very successful in my Undergraduate experience as I achieved a first class with honours bachelor’s degree, in which I was lucky enough to complete my second year abroad, in the United States of America at the University of North Georgia. Without my experience with PEAK, I would not have had these opportunities and I am very fortunate to have progressed academically and experienced life abroad, which I hope to be able to do again in the future.


Following from my Undergraduate Degree, I was offered a place on both the North East Partnership SCITT Programme and Durham University PGCE PE. It was difficult deciding between them both, but I am currently completing the course with Durham as I felt it was the best route into teaching for my learning style. I am thoroughly enjoying my time on the course and am very grateful for my university and school experiences, more specifically for my mentors and the PE department supporting me on my ITT journey as I wouldn’t be where I am within my progress without their help. As all teachers know, teacher training is a very challenging year, but with the added pressure from Covid-19 it has proven even more difficult than expected. Reflecting on my PEAK apprenticeship and undergraduate success, I am determined to overcome all challenges thrown at me during my ITT to progress to be the best teacher I can be.


I highly recommend the apprenticeship for anyone aspiring to work in education, it is an opportunity not to be missed. I am forever grateful for Dave and PEAK, it was the inspiration I needed to find my career pathway and provided/continues to offer me amazing opportunities to enhance my professional development. For anyone questioning the apprenticeship, just go for it. You will not regret it!

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