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Sam is in his third year at Derwen College and works within the Retail pathway where he is learning work and independence skills.

Sam, whose family live in London, is a hardworking, diligent and dedicated student who relishes work placements both on and off site.

As a final year student, in preparation for transition back to his local authority, a large part of his timetable involves real work. He works at the College’s Karten Print Shop and on the weekly Derwen College Oswestry Market Stall. He also has a regular work placement at Nightingales Charity Shop in Wrexham.

He is the first of our students to be offered a work placement at Severn Trent Water’s main Shrewsbury, where his work has seen him man reception, greeting customers, using the intercom and doing safety checks around the buildings. Sam enjoys transferring his work skills to a new setting.

“I feel I am learning to be confident in a different work place – it’s a completely different set up to college,” he says.

Outside of work, Sam has used his initiative, passion, and determination to support the college’s fundraising initiatives and to represent his fellow students on the college’s Student Union Board.

He has played an active role in raising awareness of the college’s ‘Agnes Hunt Village Project’, a £1 million project to modernise the bespoke housing complex at the college to create homes to support students’ independent living skills.

Sam, who has Down’s Syndrome and a moderate learning difficulty, spoke in front of an audience at the recent fundraising launch with members of the local community. He explained how important such projects to improve facilities at the college are to him and his friends. Sam emphasised the importance of modernising the facilities to ensure they are fully accessible, clearly displaying Sam’s caring nature.

Sam’s passion and determination to ensure that every student’s voice is heard has led to a role on the college’s Student Union Board. Sam has been elected onto the board as representative for the Retail department, making speeches and participating in democratic procedures. Sam’s role on the Student Union Board involves communicating with his peers and sharing their views in meetings with senior management and governors in order to affect change at the college. Sam has embraced this role and thrives when being provided with opportunities to help others and raise awareness.

Sam’s learning in work and independence has seen his confidence grow, and made him less reliant on his parents when he goes home. Sam is always very willing and motivated to succeed and is an asset to the Retail pathway and Derwen College community.