'Life skills are as crucial as credentials'

30th January 2004 at 00:00
Nadine Good, who leads the Dr B's proj ect, says the "soft option" of providing students with life skills is just as important as the "hard option" of helping them to achieve a qualification.

"When some of these young people first come to us they do not reply when we say 'good morning' to them. It's not that they are being rude - it's just that they don't believe we can be speaking to them," she says.

"All their lives, they've been told they are crap, and our job is to raise their self-esteem. It is about giving respect and receiving respect.

"For any of our students with a basic skills need, to achieve a level 2 qualification is a tremendous achievement, particularly when you consider the portfolio of evidence they have to prepare to achieve that qualification. The distance travelled is immense.

"We also have to get them to be able to live away from home and to travel independently, and then to come to work in a busy, pressured environment.

"Many of our students have come from a protective and guided environment, and have therefore become very insular, so we have to get them to believe that they can be as good as anybody else - and that they can be of value to themselves and to others."

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