It’s no exaggeration to say that Telford College has transformed Jade Hibbert’s life.
Without it, the 26-year-old is convinced she would now be living a very different kind of lifestyle, after struggling through her difficult first years at school.
Instead, she has completed a fabulous three years with Shrewsbury Town In The Community, and is now about to begin a new career as a child sexual exploitation and vulnerability trainer with West Mercia Police.
“I believe I owe everything I’ve gone on to do, to my days at Telford College,” said Jade, who was brought up in Walsall but moved to Ironbridge as a 16-year-old.
“I wasn’t the easiest child, and just scraped through school with five GCSEs. But things were totally different when I moved to Telford College – the staff were fantastic, took the time and trouble to get to know me, and treated me like an individual.
“The tutors were inspirational and frankly legendary. They were the pinnacle of my education, taught me resilience, and I can’t thank them enough for the help they gave me.”
Jade completed a level three course at Telford College, and followed this up with gym instruction and physical education qualifications which set her on the way to university.
After graduating from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in sports and exercise science, she then returned to the college’s Haybridge campus.
“It was wonderful to get the opportunity to come back, this time as a sport co-ordinator for Sport England,” she said.
“I fondly remember helping to evolve the female sports provision, taking the netball team on tour to the Isle of Wight, and winning the league with them too.”
Jade then graduated from co-ordinating duties to secure a teaching role at Telford College, working in both the sport and leisure departments.
“It turned out to be the perfect training for my job as education and inclusion manager at Shrewsbury Town In The Community, which has seen me working with around 700 participants and line managing approximately 65 staff. I have absolutely loved it,” she added.
“But none of this would have been possible without the help of Telford College’s inspirational teachers. They gave me the social development I needed for adult life, and treated me like a person, not a number.
“If the college had not shown the patience and flexibility with me when I first arrived, and taken the trouble to work with me to make me the best I could be, I’m 100% certain I would not be where I am today. My life could have been much different.”
Jade, who now lives in Bayston Hill near Shrewsbury, has been a special constable for nearly two years – and is about to strengthen her ties with West Mercia Police even further.
Her new job will see her working with community groups across Telford & Wrekin, dividing her time between Malinsgate and Wellington police stations, helping to raise awareness of the dangers of child sexual exploitation.
“It’s all about helping groups to spot the signs of CSE, and make them aware of what they need to do to help prevent it,” she said.
“I have no doubt that the job will bring me into contact with my old friends at Telford College once again – I’m very keen to give something back to the latest intake of students, and share my experiences.”
Telford College has an open event at its Haybridge campus from 5pm to 7.30pm on June 26, showcasing the latest range of A Level and vocational courses, including part time and full time programmes, apprenticeships and higher education opportunities. To register, see www.defineyourfuture.co.uk