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Learner Spotlight – Teaching Assistant, Jan 2022

We caught up with Rocio Mendoza who started her WAES journey in 2019 when she first joined us as a learner. Since then she has achieved her Level 3 teacher assistant qualification, completed a work placement and now works full-time as a Learning Support Assistant here at WAES.

Rocio is enjoying putting into practice all the skills and knowledge she gained from her experience as a student to support current students and apprentices. Read on to find out how completing these courses has benefitted her career, and what advice she would give to anyone thinking about enrolling on a course at WAES.

Can you tell me your name and your current job title?

Hello, my name is Rocio Mendoza, at the moment I am a learning support assistant. I have been working here at WAES since the 11th of October 2021, but I know WAES because I enrolled previously on two courses in 2019.

Can you tell us a bit more about those courses?

I started to work at a nursery but I realised I needed some qualifications, so that’s why I decided to leave the job and apply for a course. I was more interested in becoming a teaching assistant to support primary school learners or even secondary school learners or even adults. That’s why I applied for the course here at WAES for a Level 2 certificate for a teacher’s assistant.

Why did you choose to learn with WAES?

I decided to choose this college because my mother had a previous good experience. She enrolled for an ESOL course; she didn’t know a lot of English but now she knows a bit more. She suggested I have a look at the courses that were available here at WAES.

Can you tell us about your tutor?

I had a good experiences with both the tutors, both left a good impression and I learned a lot from them – like how they manage the class. When they told us about the experience they had done and what is expected on the course from us it is still something important for me that I can apply now in the practice.

Most I have to thank my tutor Sukhdeep, at the end of the Level 2 course she came to observe me at the placement. At the end of the observation, she told me ‘you are quite capable why don’t you apply to a Level 3 because you have more chances to get a job and you can go up in a career’, and I believed what she told me, so I applied for Level 3.

When you applied for the role of Learning Support Assistant, you originally applied for the hourly paid role but then instead you applied for the full-time vacancy, please can you tell us what happened?

So, I applied first for the part time position but Maisie knew how I was doing in my placement as a support volunteer, she suggested me to correct my CV and application form so I can include all my experience and make it more detailed, because she said I didn’t sell myself properly because my experience was much more than what I had written.

She suggested I apply for the full-time position. I couldn’t believe it, I applied and then they contacted me to have a meeting again and I had the interview and straight away they decided and offered me the position. It was very nice; I got a little bit emotional it happened so fast I cannot explain I think I was lucky. It was a privilege to have this opportunity and it still is.

We heard about the workshops you’re running, can you please tell us about that?

I am running these workshops for a couple of weeks for a group of students on the Entry Level 3 Skills in Maths. We are working together to clarify some notions of maths; it is nice because I know them already so we can work together in a more comfortable environment. It is just positive things with them, and I hope I am able to work with them until the end of the year and I hope they are able to pass their exams.

We also heard you’re supporting some Westminster City Council apprentices who are on EHC (Education Health and Care) plans, please can you talk a bit about that?

This is a new experience to support young adults that are on an apprenticeship. What I like is that I can see how they are working in the place they are doing the apprenticeship, and also when we work one-to-one I can see how they put in practice what they are learning. What I would like to gain from these experiences is to be able to support them effectively. I hope to be able to support them and to see that they are able to pass their apprenticeship and get a job posting, or an experience that is valid that they can spend in the workplace.

Our final question is what would you say to someone thinking about enrolling on a course here at WAES?

I would suggest to first of all clarify what you want to do. I know sometimes it’s not easy because people think ‘I want to be a professional’, but they are not expecting that they need to pass some exams like maths or English. That happened to me, I thought it would be easy to enrol to be a teaching assistant and spend at least one year and get a job, but they require me to have Level 2 functional skills in Maths and English.

So, what I would suggest is to come to WAES and speak to the staff and get as much information as possible about what would be their professional path, and then to start the course and take the course seriously and enjoy the path you have chosen, because at the end the reward will come.

You can find out more about our Childcare and Early Years Education courses here