Teanna Maguire, BTEC Child, Health and Social Care Student of the Year 2019

Teanna Maguire, who won BTEC Child, Health and Social Care Student of the Year in 2019 (Pearson BTEC), was described as ‘one of the strongest students I have worked with in 20 years of teaching’ by her subject leader at Sir John Deane’s College. 

The experience she gained through her work placements and training for the BTEC Level 3 in Health and Social Care (with a top-up subsidiary in Applied Science that the College suggested she take due to her evident talent and impressive work ethic) has opened up a pathway to her dream career, and she’s now embarked upon a midwifery degree at the University of Manchester.

Teanna invested as much time and energy in developing her skills and knowledge as she possibly could. She singles out the work experience element as one of the best things about the BTEC course, as she gained not only confidence and independence from reaching out and securing the placements herself, but a whole range of career-focused skills from being on placement. “I loved every single one of them and I loved the fact that BTEC gave me the opportunity to do them … I love speaking to people and that element of the course was incredible.”

As well as helping, Teanna learned how to engage with and talk to people – a crucial aspect of being a midwife, she says that her BTEC also gave her other skills that prepared her particularly well for HE:

  • Independence – absolute must at university and BTEC already gives this
  • Time management skills – again an absolute must at university and something BTEC prepares you for
  • Communication skills – you just must be able to speak and read non-verbal communication; it’s an NHS core value and it’s something that the BTEC absolutely gives
  • Courageousness – another NHS core value and BTEC taught me that through having to be bold and organise my own placements
  • Organisation skills – I don’t just mean time management but everything. This is not a ‘normal’ degree – you are working all the time and you must be able to organise your life
  • Understanding – through different placements but also just through seeing other people on the course and their strengths and weaknesses – everyone is different

Though of course much of her success comes from her own effort and that of her teachers, Teanna says she’s grateful for the opportunities BTEC has given her and is extremely proud to be the first in her family to attend university. “I am so thankful for the knowledge I have learnt throughout the course and work experience and believe if it wasn’t for the vocational aspect of the course and the confidence it has given me to pursue a career in health and social care, I would not be where I am today.” 

Teanna’s story is a great example of how BTEC and other vocational pathways aid social mobility, giving people from all backgrounds a first step onto the career ladder. ‘BTECs recognise that there’s a difference in people but not in their potential.’

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