New Additional Learning Support Co-ordinator to support equal opportunity for learners

Additional Learning Support Co-ordinator

At Cambrian Training, we believe that apprenticeships are for all individuals, regardless of their background, age, level or needs. Our aim is to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to access our apprenticeships and we can provide extra support when required. We strive to continually improve the services that we provide. This is why we have employed a new Additional Learning Support Co-ordinator, Debbie Lovatt.

This National Apprenticeship Week, we’ve been speaking to Debbie about her role in Cambrian Training and her journey to becoming an Additional Learning Support Co-ordinator at Cambrian Training Company. Here is what she had to say:

How did you come to work in this sector?

“I’ve been teaching students in education for 28 years. During my time as a teacher, where I taught English and Drama, I worked with many students that had diverse learning needs, which required adaptability and flexibility to meet their individual needs,” Debbie told us.

She also added: “Later, I held the position of Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator in several schools, where I became responsible for leading teams of staff to ensure that all students with learning needs and disabilities had the appropriate levels of support in place and that all statutory guidance was followed appropriately.”

Would you be able to give a few more details on your background and why you chose to join Cambrian Training Company?

“The jobs that I had held previously then led me to becoming an advisory teacher for ALN across several local authorities where I supported teachers and students across a wide range of schools and where working in a multi-agency approach was an integral part of my role.

“This has provided me with valuable skills, expertise and experiences that will enable me to support apprentices in their learning and also help and advise the staff at Cambrian Training.”

To add to this, Debbie told us that: “with all of the changes to the ALN guidance over the last few years, I feel that I am in a great position to lead Cambrian Training on being able to better support apprentices with ALN and disabilities.”

Are there many misconceptions about learners with additional needs? Both from people without additional needs/disabilities and those with? And if so, what are these?

“Yes, one common misconception is that these learners are not capable of academic success, which is untrue as with the right support and provision they can excel academically.

Also, some people believe that learners with additional learning needs (ALN) require the same type or same level of support, when in reality it is about providing a personalised approach and discovering what their strengths and challenges are. It is about recognising diversity and matching the personalised support appropriately.”

Why is it important for education providers to support learners with additional needs?

“Supporting learners with additional learning needs is crucial for a number of reasons. It promotes inclusivity, ensuring that everyone has access to education, regardless of their ability.

“Secondly, it helps learners to reach their full potential by provided specific support that is tailored to their individual needs. And ultimately, investing in support for learners with additional needs benefits not only the individual themselves, but society as a whole by promoting equality and diversity,” She explained.

Have there been developments in the provision for learners with additional needs over the 25 years you’ve worked in the sector?

“Definitely. Firstly, there has been greater legal protections that support equality, diversity and additional learning needs and disabilities over the last 25 years.

“Secondly, there has been a greater understanding of various learning needs and disabilities over this time and this has reduced the stigma for these individuals.

There has been a shift towards inclusive education where learners are taught alongside their peers, which promotes diversity and understanding and educators have in turn become better at differentiating and providing resources to meet their needs. Assistive technology has completely changed how learners can be supported as it enables them to participate more fully in learning activities.”

What advice would you give to employers/providers to better support learners with additional needs/disabilities?

“Create a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusivity where all employees feel respected and supported regardless of their abilities. Provide training and awareness to managers and staff on how best support staff with learning needs and disabilities.”

Debbie emphasised: “This may include flexible work policies that allow employees to have varying work schedules or remote working, having access to adaptations and technology and ensuring the physical workspace is accessible for all.”

“Also, create individual plans that outline any needs and provisions that the employee needs to have in place to undertake their job effectively and complete their qualification. Finally, promote an atmosphere within the workplace where open communication is encouraged so that support is an on-going consideration,” she added.

And finally, how have you set out to help CTC better support their learners with additional needs/disabilities?

“I will ensure that all apprentices are able to access learning and participate equally and fairly regardless of their ALN or disability. Sessions will be provided by tutors and training officers that are planned and delivered to meet the individual needs of all learners, in order to achieve success on their chosen qualification. Individual learning plans will be created for ALN learners and they will outline their individual learning needs and the specific provision that is required.

“A person-centred planning approach will be used to ensure that appropriate individual needs are incorporated into the plan. I look forward to helping and supporting any apprentice that requires any additional learning requirement.”

We are delighted to have Debbie, who has over 25 years of experience, helping us support learners with additional needs and disabilities to access equal opportunities. Having an Additional Learning Support Co-ordinator to guide our ALN provision is a step forward for Cambrian Training Company and sets the foundation for better supporting our ALN apprentices.

If you would like to know more about the support available to ALN learners, contact us Debbie at:

For more information on the apprenticeships that we offer, visit our Qualifications page.