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Sheyanne Stephens
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Aspiring firefighter overcomes hurdles to realise dream

An aspiring firefighter has ‘flourished’ since starting at City of Bristol College at the young age of 14 and she is now one step closer to accomplishing her dream.

Sheyanne Stephens, aged 19, came to the College as an ‘Early College’ student, a programme offered to 14-16-year olds who have struggled in mainstream education for a number of reasons. The ‘second chance’ helped Sheyanne to feel understood and valued as she opted to study Public Services Level 1 and 2.

The course helped the Bristol woman to expand her skills and knowledge of the public sector, hoping it would support her dream to become a firefighter and to help other people.

“On this course, I was given opportunities and experiences to help me build my confidence, make me look closely at my strengths and limitations and reignited my passion for the subject and career opportunities.”

Sheyanne Stephens

For the past two years, Sheyanne has been studying Outdoor Pursuits and has been able to further grow her knowledge of leadership, team-building, organisation and safety.

Sheyanne has come a long way since starting at the college back in 2015 and she said the experience has changed her opinion of education.

She added: “I grew up with a profound respect for firefighters and always dreamed of becoming one. A dream I did not actually think could become a reality until recently. But now, as I look to the future, I can truly say I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given.”

Sheyanne struggled in school and she felt misunderstood and judged. But with the support of her mum, who ‘pushed [her] to be the best version of [herself]’, she feels like she has invested in her future.

Now, as she nears the end of her course, Sheyanne is looking to the future and realising her dreams. She said: “I think firefighting is a career which would make me feel proud and accomplished. It is a career in which I will be respected, but more importantly I want to be able to help others and make them feel safe in their communities.

“Firefighting is not your average job and I know it is going to take a lot of work and I have a long way to go until I am ready to be a firefighter, but I am willing to put the work in to complete my fire and rescue qualification – especially if it helps me get a step closer to my dream.”

Assistant Director of Foundation Learning, Cathy Bowstead, has been with Sheyanne through every step of her journey and said she was ‘incredibly proud’ of the woman she had become.

Sheyanne’s journey at City of Bristol College, from the age of 14, epitomises our shared values of Ambition, Pride, Integrity & Respect by giving a young woman the opportunities to flourish and reach her goals.”

Cathy Bowstead

Find out more about the Outdoor Pursuits and Public Service courses.

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