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DCG Success Stories

Jess Hales

Jess Hales stood outside of Ashwood Spencer Academy.

Study Type: Adult and Community
Study Location: The Roundhouse
Subject Studied: Teacher Training, Coaching and Mentoring

Derby College level 2 TA course is ideal for teaching assistant Jess

Teaching assistant and Derby College student Jess Hales knew she wanted to work in education right from when she was still at school taking GCSEs.

With a career plan in mind, she went to university in Birmingham to study history, but after graduation, she instead took a job as assistant manager of a pub.

Jess had wanted a break from study and was offered promotion at the bar she’d been working at to earn money while on her degree course.

When she became pregnant though, Jess, now 26, reverted to her original idea, and decided to leave the hospitality sector to become a TA.

She said: “As a mum my life had changed and I really wanted to find a job which fitted in around my daughter, so I started looking at college courses.

“The Derby College level 2 TA course was ideal as the Roundhouse is not far from where I live and it offered good career progression.

“My lecturers, Nicole and Emily know their subject but they’re also so incredibly supportive.

“I’m the sort of person who always likes to get my work in on time but I know that if I have any childcare issues, they’d let me extend my deadlines.

“They understand my situation as a young mum with a two-year-old; they were so good when my daughter was ill.”

Jess said her lecturers were also extremely helpful when she applied for a TA placement at a local school.

She added: “Nicole took me through the interview process and made sure I had all the information I needed  before I spoke to the school.

“I’m now employed as a full-time TA at that school,  Ashwood Spencer Academy, and started my job there in October 2021.

“I work with Year 2 children – the six and seven-year-olds – and am really  enjoying being  part of their development and learning  journey.”

Jess, who goes into the Roundhouse on Mondays, has been touched by how the students on her level 2 course look out for each other.

She added: “It was so nice when I was offered my TA job and they congratulated me and said how amazing it was.

“My TA role works well for me now, and I want to go on to the level 3 course next year, but I might train to be a teacher in the future.”

My lecturers, Nicole and Emily know their subject but they’re also so incredibly supportive.