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Brushing up on qualifications


Almost 40 people were presented with hard-earned ASDAN awards at Sense Scotland’s recent graduation ceremony for the people they support.

And, in amongst the hard-working students, were five ladies who’ve gone on to use their ‘World Of Work: Salon Assistant’ qualification to open up a beauty salon, where staff, volunteers and family members can enjoy being pampered.

‘Cuticles and Curls’ was established at TouchBase Glasgow thanks to a £1000 donation from ASDAN, which allowed the group to buy equipment like sinks, massage bed and uniforms. 

Every Friday guests enjoy nail treatments, new hair dos and massages with one saying: “I feel very relaxed. I will definitely be back, the salon staff were brilliant.”

Danielle Cunningham, whose verbal communication is limited, was one of those receiving her salon assistant award. Her mum Nancy has noticed a difference. She explained: “I think [the ASDANs] have boosted her confidence and definitely brought her out of her shell. When she comes to Sense Scotland she’ll see someone she knows and she’ll get their attention. A couple of years ago she wouldn’t have done that.

“It’s great that she can achieve the same as anyone else would, she loves coming here and trying new things.  I feel very proud at her getting her awards, she loves doing all the different things. She’s been coming home from the salon and giving me hand massages.”

ASDAN is an education charity which provides curriculum programmes and qualifications to equip learners to thrive in 21st Century education, work and life.

The Learning and Development team at Sense Scotland introduced the qualification scheme a number of years ago, with staff supporting people to undertake subjects which interested them and engaged them with the wider community. Since 2014 the number of people gaining a qualification has grown 10-fold, with the range of subjects increasing every single year.

At the ceremony in TouchBase Glasgow on Friday, August 31, almost 40 people received ASDANs, with some of the most popular subjects being the environment, geography and history. A further ceremony will take place soon in Aberdeen for those in the North East gaining ASDANs.

Sense Scotland Chief Executive Andy Kerr said: “It’s one of the most amazing days in the Sense Scotland calendar. It brings together families, carers, friends, trustees, support workers and the people we support into an atmosphere of celebration, of recognition of their achievements. The joy on the families’ faces and those receiving their ASDAN is just fantastic.

“The salon opening shows the progress made over the last few years – that people we support are eager to learn and put that learning in to practice. Sense Scotland is delighted to partner with ASDAN to make that a reality.”

Over the years the range and complexity of subjects has also changed as Training Co-ordinator Anne Sutherland explains: “Last year some of the groups were looking at communication and had a talk about using sign language in other countries. This sparked an interested in finding out more about other cultures and countries. A number of the people we support took on geography modules as a result. It’s great to see the spark ignited and to see their thirst for knowledge.”