Level 2 Plumbing student Robbie Matthews

North Notts College Perfect Foundation for Plumbing Progress

7 December 2020

North Notts College Level 2 Plumbing student Robbie Matthews has secured a six-month work placement with Worksop-based bathroom and wet room specialists CSW Bathrooms.

Robbie, who began his journey to becoming a qualified Plumber in the College’s Foundation (now FLEX) department, a specialist department for students with special educational needs and disabilities, three years ago following a period of homeschooling.

When Robbie, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and mild learning difficulties, joined the College’s Foundation Department and he had the chance to explore a range of projects alongside improving his English and maths. The progress he made gave him the opportunity to progress onto a technical study programme.

Robbie said: “I was able to start the Level 1 Plumbing course last year after undertaking a six-week trial. I had to have the trial because my behaviour in the Foundation department wasn’t always the best.

“I have a really short attention span and I can get really angry and frustrated. But, as I’ve matured, I’ve learned to manage my behaviour better.

“I find that being hands-on suits me. I’ve been on work experience for two weeks, already Chris, the owner, has confirmed he’s going to keep me on. I’ll either be doing an apprenticeship or he’ll employ me and train me himself. It’s great that I’m learning a trade eventually I’d like my own bathroom fitting business, and the training I’m getting will ensure I’m set for life.”

North Notts College Curriculum Team Leader for Plumbing, Martin LeMoigne, gave Robbie the chance to show that he could meet the professional standards expected in the Plumbing workshops.

Martin said: “Robbie’s progress is testament to the FLEX department and the impact and support they offered him. His journey just shows that everybody progresses and learns differently.

“He’s found what he enjoys and what he wants to do, and he’s now reaping the benefits of that. It’s fantastic that he’s secured himself a six-month work placement, it will be really valuable in helping him learn how to do the job and the skills he’ll need in the workplace.”

Robbie points to the support he received from the Foundation Learning team at the College as being important in his development, reserving praise for one tutor in particular.

Robbie explains: “Jenny in the FLEX team was great. She spoke to me like an adult and was somebody that I could trust – she didn’t talk to me like a teacher and she gave really good advice. I could go to her if I had a problem and she really tried to get across that I was moving into adulthood.

North Notts College FLEX tutor Jenny Bowker taught Robbie when he first joined the College.

Jenny said: “Robbie is a great lad. He’s really smart and switched on, we helped him find what he wanted to do and find strategies to manage his behaviour. As he’s matured his approach to College and work has changed for the better, and he is really seeing the benefits of this new mature approach.”


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