Kathryn Keightley from St Helens attended The Sutton Academy in St Helens. At school Kathryn achieved a number of GCSE qualifications, but felt she could have done better in some subjects. On leaving school, Kathryn initially applied to St Helens College but then decided that this was not the right learning environment for her to be in. In September 2013, Kathryn applied to The Skills Company as she felt a smaller and more personal environment at the St Helens training centre would better suit her needs.

When Kathryn started at The Skills Company she was a very quiet young lady who didn’t have much confidence in her own abilities and tended to keep to herself. However, after a few weeks she did start to make some friends and settle in to the training centre.

In her first year at the training centre, Kathryn completed Level 2 Functional Skills in English and Level 1 Functional Skills in Maths along with a certificate in Employability. Kathryn was also unsure of her career direction, and two work experience placements were arranged for her, one in childcare and one at the Willow Brook Hospice.

After a good first year with The Skills Company, Kathryn felt confident enough to return for a second year. She was working towards a GCSE in English and a Level 2 in Maths. Kathryn also knew by now that retail was the career area she wanted to be in, and her confidence had improved greatly.

Kathryn spoke to training centre Placement Consultant Dan Hughes, and they discussed a number of retail options. Dan felt that Kathryn would be well suited to a work placement in Peacocks, a fashion store based in St Helens. This would help Kathryn further develop her interpersonal skills, confidence, and communication skills.

At Peacocks, Kathryn was buddied up with an existing member of staff who looked after her, and who she was able to go to if she had any problems. The manager also took an instant liking to Kathryn, saying that she could see the potential in her. She indicated that as long as Kathryn was keen and showed initiative, she would support her as much as possible to gain employment. Kathryn quite quickly secured herself weekend employment with Peacocks.

Kathryn passed her GCSE in English and Level 2 Maths, and was taken in to full time employment at Peacocks. Kathryn is now on a MIM (Moving into Management) course with Peacocks, acting as shift supervisor, cashing up at the end of the day and completing staff rotas.

Kathryn said:
“The Skills Company helped me to gain confidence within myself. I have learned a wide range of skills which have helped me progress in my retail training. I never thought that I would be on a management training course.”