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Believe and Achieve

04 Sep 2019

   

The more I studied, I found it opened my eyes to appreciate what we do every day, and that maybe I was more capable than I thought. I was doing the job but was always phoning my manager to check because I wasn’t confident in my decisions. Now that I have done my SVQ3 I know that I am capable and am more confident as a result.

   

I’m Debbie Alexander and I’ve just completed my Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ3) in Social Sciences & Healthcare. I can imagine what you’re thinking: “great, but nothing special”. That’s true, but for me, and my eight year old son Ben, it’s a big deal. Here’s why:

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Fear of judgement

I had always put off doing my SVQ3 because my confidence stopped me. I know how to do my job, but writing about it concerned me as my grammar is not the best! I know it’s not the most important thing about doing an SVQ, but it mattered to me. I didn’t want to be judged, I feared what people would think, so I put off doing it. I am quite happy now and wish I hadn’t.

At that time I had a lot going on. I was not coping due to a lot of personal family issues and I was using Cornerstone’s employee assistance programme so I wasn’t in a good place.

I was told that it takes about a year to do the SVQ3. I did mine in three and a half months! I gave myself a target to get it done before my holiday, and I did it! Also, Ben has separation anxiety so I had to do it quickly for him because the time I was spending on my SVQ was time I was not spending with him. This gave me the focus I needed, so I studied on my days off when he was at school, or after he went to bed.

When I started the course I found some of it really hard and really struggled with some of the subjects on a personal level. Also, it wasn’t until I realised how the theory and practice joined together that it made sense. We almost take it for granted when we are work, we just do it, but we don’t sit back and say ‘ah, that’s why we have to do it that way’. It felt good to be able to join up the dots. It really opened my eyes to what I actually did and built my confidence in being able to do it. Through my studying I started to get confident in my abilities; and the more confidence I got the more I wanted to do it.

Seeing myself through the eyes of others

I especially liked the reflective accounting aspect of the course where we look back at ourselves. I did a lot on reflection and it made me assess how I behave and how I come across to other people and I am much more aware of that now. At the end of the day I would go home and think: ‘did I do that right, could I have done that better?’ but with completing the reflective account for my SVQ it now makes me think before I say or do something.

I’m mindful that I may be coming across that I’m telling someone what to do and not actually doing what they want to do. The SVQ process made me more aware of being more person-centred. It is not about us in any shape or form, our views don’t matter, it’s their care, their support; and thinking in the way and recording that on paper as part of the SVQ3 really helped to remember this.

What’s next?

The more I studied I found it opened my eyes to appreciate what we do every day, and that maybe I was more capable than I thought. I was doing the job but was always phoning my manager to check because I wasn’t confident in my decisions. Now that I have done my SVQ3 I know that I am capable and am more confident as a result.

Ben is so proud of me. Working hard to achieve my SVQ3 has made him see me differently. I am committed and determined and confident in what I do, and that can only be a good thing for him to see Mum in this way. During the process Ben knows when I’ve got to get my head down and concentrate, so he will sit next to me quietly and colour in. We are both walking taller now as I feel better about myself, and Ben has seen that studying hard has made me happier at work, and at home. A great example for when he starts university in 10 years’ time!

My SVQ Assessor spoke to me about maybe doing an Open University course and it’s something I have been considering. I would have never thought about that before because I didn’t have the confidence in myself to think I could do it. But now I know if I work hard, I can do it, so nothing is going to stop me!