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Share your story and help us celebrate learning in Swindon!  

We know that learning has the power to change lives. We want to gather as many learning stories as possible from across our town and we would like to hear from you.

Featured stories 

I’m a Scientist – Get me out of here Live! 2019

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On Tuesday 19th March, almost 300 year 10 and 11 students from five different Swindon Secondary Schools came together to take part in an “I’m a Scientist – Live!” event held at The Ridgeway School and Sixth Form College. These events aim to bring real Scientists into contact with students in schools, to help raise awareness of options for working in STEM subject areas. Swindon Borough Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, worked together to deliver this event.

Two separate interactive and very lively sessions were held and each group of students heard from 6 real, live Scientists who explained their roles and why they think what they do is important. Students were then able to ask any questions they had, and the Scientists competed to give the best answers.

Some brilliant questions were asked ranging from the light hearted (is the earth really flat?) to the very serious (can you save our Polar Bears?) and the Scientists delivered really interesting, informative answers. 

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At the end of each session, the students voted for their favourite Scientist, and the winner received a cheque for their chosen charity. A range of science related goodies including posters, badges and educational material were also available for students to take back to schools with them.

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This was a hugely successful event, enjoyed by everyone who took part.

Schools feedback: Thank you for a really lovely afternoon. Our students really enjoyed it, I think they were just getting warmed up and could have gone on for a second hour with their questions. Please thank the scientists involved for us.

You can find out more about “I’m a Scientist - Live!” here:


Building Bridges – read about Carols incredible journey back to work…

To find out more about Carols journey visit:


Building Bridges into Work - a good news story for Tom



Tom’s aim is to work for Lush.  With the help of the SBC Building Bridges team Tom is successfully completing a work experience with Lush.

SBC run a Supported Employment Programme called Building Bridges. This is aimed at those with significant barriers to employment and/or volunteering.

For more information:
Telephone: 01793 464770






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Abbie's Story...

Abbie McQueen is currently undertaking a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship at Imagine Cruising in Swindon, with New College Swindon as the training provider.



“I didn’t believe full time college would suit me and I was more interested in working in a business environment.

Doing this apprenticeship has definitely brought me out of my shell. I get the opportunity to work with a range of departments, such as marketing and customer support, which means I get to experience different job roles and get an idea of what I like doing.   I like that I have been able to explore a company and find my feet within a business environment.  New College has been very supportive, especially my tutor who has been so helpful.

I would recommend an apprenticeship because it’s a good way to become more independent and understand your future interests as well as being able to earn whilst you learn. I plan to stay on for a full-time job at my place of work and progress further.”

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Tom's Story...

Tom Shopland is undertaking a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Infrastructure Technician through New College Swindon. His employer is Scotts and Co, a multi-channel retail business with sites in Swindon and Stow-on-the-Wold.



“Doing an apprenticeship allows me to put all my knowledge into practice and showcase everything that I’ve learned – it’s a great feeling!

Tasks in my role involve: infrastructure support; looking after all servers within the business; keeping the network afloat and making sure all users are able to work efficiently on a day to day basis.

I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to those looking for a starting point into a particular career path. For the future my plans are to self-study and put the skills I have into advancing my career.”


Stephen's Story



Stephen enrolled on the Salamander course because he is in recovery and looking to his future.

Stephen and another resident from Gloucester House were so open and honest but in a mature and thoughtful manner. Several of the younger boys on the course had been experimenting or regularly using cannabis as well as smoking. They spoke to the young teenage boys about the effects that drugs and alcohol had on their bodies, their mental health, their jobs, their family and friends. They talked about the trouble they had been in and how hard it has been to turn their lives around. It was a real education talking to them and they evidenced the changes in their lives and how this change had come about.

Stephen enjoyed the Salamander course so much that on the last day he applied to become a volunteer with the DWFRS.  Stephen’s long term aim is to work in Childcare so DWFRS also arranged for him to meet the Swindon Young Carers team. He is now their most valued volunteer. He assists at the weekly youth groups for 5-8 year olds and the 9-12 years olds and has signed up to assist regularly during the school holidays.  With new found confidence and developing resilience Stephen has recently applied to do a Foundation Degree in Childcare!

SBC Adult Community Learning and Family Services fund and run the 5 day Salamander courses in partnership with the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service for adults aged 19 years or more on 31st August 2018.  Contact the ACL team (  if you would like more information or the dates of the next course.




Elrich's Story...

My journey started back in 2016.  I wasn’t sure what to do after sixth form and in all honesty, I had no idea about the apprentice route that was available. I always thought that they were only for the building trade!



I had no idea there were opportunities to enter a financial institution through an apprenticeship, but luckily one of my friends introduced me to the concept. I even had an unconditional offer to study business at Uni, but the idea with leaving with possibly 40k+ of debt was a bit daunting. I came across the apprenticeships at nationwide while still at sixth form, and applied then and there in-between my lessons, not actually thinking I’d get the position.
Two yeas later, I’ve now moved on from the level 3 I originally started with, and I’m now studying for a business management degree. I can honestly say it’s the best decision I’ve made after leaving full time education. 
Earning a salary whilst studying for a degree is truly the best of both worlds. Nationwide have been and to continue to be brilliant; the support network and dedicated emerging talent team really gives you all the support you’d ever need and are always working in your best interest. The possibilities are endless!


Ex-Service Women Find New Careers!

Find out about Jasmine and Rebecca’s learning stories; from the military to cybersecurity...


Sun and Space Workshop at Nythe Primary School ...

Before half term, Year 5 and 6 were treated to an exciting Sun and Space Workshop. Dr Helen Mason from the University of Cambridge visited the school with two representatives from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, which is based in Swindon, and two artists.



The children were treated to a presentation from Dr Mason, where she answered lots of their questions about the sun and the universe. They were fascinated by the infra-red camera that she showed them!


 After the presentation, the children participated in some art workshops, where they used a range of materials to create collages on the theme of Space. They also learnt how to use marbling to create their own patterned paper to use in their collages.
In the afternoon, representatives from the Science and Technology Facilities Council shared some samples from the moon and meteors with the children. Everyone was excited to hold a piece of the moon! They also gave the children posters, booklets and UV bead bracelets to take away with them. 
Kids at Play



Everyone had a fantastic day and learnt lots about the sun and space!  



Meet Joseph Romanski, Swindon Town footballer

Joseph Romanski


Joseph credits the apprenticeship programme for kick starting his professional career...


Swindon Town centre-back, Joseph Romanski, 18, credits the on and off-the-job training he received on his apprenticeship as the perfect platform to thrive as a professional football player. 
Joseph Romanski made his senior debut for Swindon Town at the backend of last season and recently scored his first professional goal for the club in a 3-2 win against Tranmere Rovers, but it’s not just on the pitch where Joseph has impressed.
After gaining Double Distinction in his Level 3 Sporting Excellence Apprenticeship in May, Joseph was then named in 'The 11' by League Football Education (LFE) for his outstanding apprenticeship achievements, before signing his first professional contract in June.  
He is now a regular in the first-team at Swindon Town and has been described by manager Phil Brown as having all “the tools available to build a successful footballing career.”
Today, apprenticeship experts SupplyTrain find out what Joseph thinks about his apprenticeship and how it helped him progress towards a job as a professional football player.
“Congratulations on making your debut, signing your first professional contract, achieving distinctions in your apprenticeship qualifications and scoring the winner against Tranmere last week! It sounds like quite a few months… “
How did your apprenticeship help you prepare for life as an elite athlete?
I think most people don’t realise many football players start as real apprentices - just like thousands of other young people across the country. I went to college one day a week and learned from the academy staff at the club the rest of the time.
It’s not just football training either. Obviously there is football practice and I’m trying to improve my game, but I was also taught about using social media and being in the public eye, how to act on a night out, responding to criticism and keeping my feet on the ground when things are going well. I think all of these things combined have helped me prepare for life as a football player.
Does the off-the-job learning in college really help you become a better football player?
Good question - yes it does. For example, one of the modules we learned was about nutrition. The course tutor at New College Swindon taught me all about macronutrients, micronutrients, when to eat certain food groups to increase my bulk, recover quicker and feel better on the pitch. I used this information to adjust my diet; and my game improved massively as a result.
If you hadn’t made it as a professional, do you think your apprenticeship has prepared you for work somewhere else?
Yes, I think so. I’m really grateful to have been given a professional contract, but all football players are just one bad injury away from retiring, so it’s important the apprenticeship is teaching you general life skills - and this one definitely did.
I’ve got experience of coming into work everyday, working with different people, solving problems, as well as distinctions in my vocational studies. I think those are things most employers would be impressed by. I hope so anyway!
What would you say to other young people in Swindon & Wiltshire about apprenticeships?
Go for it. You’re not just getting paid to do a job, you’re getting real life experience and qualifications to set you up for life too. That’s not a bad way to start your career. It’s definitely given me the skills, knowledge and attitude I need to make it in my profession, so it can do the same for you!
Apprenticeships in Swindon & Wiltshire are changing beyond recognition - make sure you know the facts!
● You can study a degree-apprenticeship - without any student debt!
● Apprentices make almost as much as graduates over their whole careers!
● You can become a Solicitor, Teacher, Nurse, Software Developer, Footballer, Accountant and almost any other career through an apprenticeship route!
Test your knowledge with these free, fun apprenticeship quizzes.
Can YOU get 100% right, like Joseph Romanski did?
For more impartial information on skills and apprenticeships in Swindon & Wiltshire, visit:
Young People & Parents:

Meet Kenneth... never too old to learn

Kenneth Sherwin is 93 years old this year, and is currently on the iPad for beginner’s course at the Central Library in Swindon.
When asked  what made him come on the course, Kenneth replied “My daughter and son-in-law bought me an iPad for my birthday last year and I have not used it, so when I saw your adverts in the library, I decided to sign up.”
Meet Kenneth



Kenneth was the head of the Engineering Department at Swindon College when he retired and had worked for them for over 30 years. Kenneth started at the college in 1956 as an engineering tutor and was the 27th member of staff.
Kenneth's story proves that it is never too late to try something new and learn a new skill!


Adult Community Learning Course...

Working with referrals from The Harbour Project and in conjunction with Swindon Borough Council, Adult Community Learning Courses are helping people grow their internet skills. 

Adult Community Learning


Seven learners are currently undertaking an 8-week computer course with a mix of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel whilst incorporating the basics of internet skills such as web searches, navigating web pages, internet safety and setting up and using emails. 
There are many courses currently running in Swindon: 
  • Routeways to Employment a 3-day vocational taster course provides and introduction to retail and customer service, hospitality and food safety, health and social care, business administration.
  • Internet for beginners 4-week course covering web searches, navigating web pages, internet safety and setting up and using Emails.
  • iPad for beginners another 4-week course covering web searches, navigating web pages, internet safety and setting up and using Emails.
  • Microsoft for the workplace a 4-week course using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
  • Skills for Life a 6-day course focussing on English, Maths and ICT.
For more details contact Rachael Goodenough on 07468 516960


Have a look at our Apprenticeships films...

Have a look at these learners experiences...

Julie's story - a journey  into Nursing
Sam's story - from Booth House to a career pathway


We all learn in so many different ways and places – through friends, activities, formal education and at work...

Everyone’s story is important.

Outlined below are some questions that may help you think about your learning story and how you can share it with others.

You may prefer to write it or tell it in a different way such as: create a film, set it to music, write a poem, take a picture or create a piece of theatre. All learning stories are welcome!

By sharing your story you will be able to inspire others to get involved and we will also see the breadth of learning and the many ways in which learning is changing lives in Swindon.

Your story might be based on an experience that made a difference to your life, it might be about one thing you learnt that set you on a specific course, or it might tell the story of some of your learning journey and demonstrate how what you learnt has impacted on your life.  


Creating your story  

To help you think about your story – here are some prompt questions for you to use:

• What have you learnt recently or in the past that has made a difference to your life?

• Where did you learn?

• How old were you?

• How did this learning come about?

• Was it an easy thing to learn? Hard?

• Did you learn with other people?

• How did you feel about what you learnt?

• Did it lead to a small change or a big change?

• Have you shared that learning with anyone else? Did it make a difference to them?

• Do you have a message for anyone who might read/hear your story?  


Sharing your story – what to do next  

Once you have created your story, please send it to:

If you have written your learning story, please send us a photo of yourself to accompany the piece.

If you would like to discuss your story with someone first, please contact Peter Nathan at .