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Sarah Newcombe, Cheadle and Marple sixth form college

Nursery assistant Sarah Newcombe has good reason for not picking up babies:

"I'd be scared I would drop them." But that is the only restriction she has encountered in her past five determined years working towards a career in childcare despite the hemiplegia which has affected the left side of her body since birth.

After her GCSEs, Sarah, 21, went to Cheadle and Marple sixth form college to take foundation and then intermediate GNVQs in health and social care, before starting an NVQ in childcare. Although her right side is unaffected and she walks with a limp, depending on one side of her body makes her tired. She can't lift heavy objects.

At first it was a challenge to convince herself and others that she could cope with a nursery job, she says, but at the end of a work placement 16 hours a week working with two and three-year-olds in All Saints nursery, Marple, she was offered a permanent post. Since then she has won a young apprentice of the year award, and taken over responsibility for the nursery's ICT.

"It's nice to work with the children individually, to see their different personalities," she says. "There's nothing I don't like about my job."

"Sarah has a gentle approach which the children respond to," says Pat Atkinson, nursery manager. "That she has a disability is secondary to the fact that she's such an asset to our team."

Interviews by Karen Gold

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