“I think it’s important for those that have pursued education to be able to grab the bull by the horns. Some of our students are so inspiring and determined to achieve, I just want to help them get there.”

Toni’s from Hemel Hempstead but is living in St Neot’s. She’s been at Clarion for almost three months as an Assistant Bookings Co-ordinator. After a student has been assessed, if Clarion is on their DSA letter, they get in touch with Toni and she arranges the appropriate support. For example, when a student needs a BSL interpreter, a note-taker during a lecture, specialist mentoring or assisted technology training.

“I think education is so important and I don’t think health should ever be a barrier from learning. Everyone is entitled to it regardless of age, sex, race, monetary income. By health, I mean mental health and differences that can be barriers in the way universities teach to the majority.

I’m dyslexic, it’s not necessarily wrong but it’s a different way of learning. I was always a nerd. I never went to University due to personal health reasons. I was very academic growing up but I put a lot of pressure on myself and eventually I burnt out. I didn’t have the support network we try to put in place for these students. That’s why I feel it’s so important the support’s available. Even if they decide that they don’t want it, as long as they know there’s someone who can help, they’ll be able achieve more.

I haven’t been here too long but I’m learning so much and I feel I’m going to be here a while. This is an important job and I want to see our students through their university course to graduation. I want them to know who they can turn to if they have a problem.”

Since working at Clarion, Toni has been learning sign language and doing Deaf awareness training.

“I’m picking it up slowly…I’d like to know enough sign language by the time I’m a parent so I can sign with my children when they’re growing up….I used to work in restaurants and bakeries which is nothing like this. I miss the regular customers, sometimes I wonder what they’re up to but I’m starting to build a rapport with our students and interpreters which I love.”

To find out more about the support Clarion provides for students visit clarionukstudentsupport.com or call 01763 209001.