Meet the Mind Set coaches!

From winning Apprenticeship of the Year to going through Clearing, from resitting A levels to graduating...our coaches have been through it all! Read on to find out more about them and their inspirational stories.


Calum applied for university but didn’t get the grades he needed, so applied for lots of apprenticeships. He got a role as a business administration apprentice, but after discussions with his friends and family he decided to leave for an electrician apprenticeship as he felt it had better job prospects. Calum realised soon that it wasn’t for him, and went back to his manager to re-join his original apprenticeship. He now works full-time at the company.

“The apprenticeship was great. It’s good to walk away with a qualification, but now I’ve got a permanent job. I’m just focusing now on moving up the ladder.”


Tom realised his original university choice couldn't support his athletic career, so he changed path to apply for a sports scholarship. He now studies alongside his training. Tom’s enjoying his new course, and has his eyes on the prize: one day representing his country in the 800m!

“Before you look at the process, have a think about what’s important to you, and write down a list of what’s important and just make sure all those boxes are ticked by the option that you go for.”


Naila felt the stress bite during her GCSEs and was disappointed in her results, but felt classroom learning wasn’t suited to her. She heard an advertisement for apprenticeships on the radio and after leaving school went straight into a work trial, learning key office skills. She was offered a business administration apprenticeship. Naila recently won Apprentice of the Year at the Asian Apprentice Awards.

“Do your research! What do your friends and family do - how did they get there? Look what’s out there and follow your heart.”


From a deprived area, Ryhan excelled at GCSE and went on to take Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Economics at A level. He found the jump to AS level a difficult one and he didn’t get the high grades he expected or needed in the first year to study medicine at university. His teacher advised him to choose a different path, but Ryhan persisted and managed to improve his A level grades. He has been awarded scholarships and plans to become a surgeon after graduating.

“I can explain complex ideas, I can instil motivation in people who think the world is against them or they don’t have any opportunities. That’s not really the problem, the problem is within ourselves. If we think we can achieve then we can.”


Annabel found the leap to A level more difficult than expected, but managed to get onto a foundation course at university. Then, two months into the course, she found out she was pregnant with her son. She manages to juggle motherhood with study and working 20 hours a week, motivated by the desire to make a better life for her son.

“I’m not an essay learner and my uni course is fantastic as it is hands-on. It’s the 21st Century, I don’t want to be sat at home because I’m a single mum - I want to do better for my son.”


Patrick felt he didn’t push himself at school, but despite this he did get into college, studied History, Politics, Sociology and Technology at A level and achieved great grades. However, after securing a place at university he decided to drop out and find a job. He feels higher education isn’t for everyone and says he is an example of how you can take a different route to success, having worked his way up in a company from the bottom.

“I’m a firm believer in making your own opportunities; I’m a walking example of that. I still have things to learn - I’ve not been down the conventional route but I’m still doing well.”


Megan was one of only two girls who applied to take an Engineering Diploma, but the course was cancelled due to lack of interest at her all-girls school. At A level she took Engineering and found herself having to catch up with boys who had taken the Diploma. She is now taking a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship and works alongside WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) and the National Apprenticeship Service.

“One of the most common phrases I hear is, you don’t look like an engineer, and I’m like… What does an engineer look like?!”


Josh moved schools several times to try to find the best environment for him to flourish. After his GCSEs, he found the perfect college course and now presents a local radio drive time show, as well as working and taking his International Baccalaureate Diploma with a view to going to university.

“Looking after mental health and wellbeing is vital. Without it nothing else can happen.”


Jessica suffered with bad exam anxiety and didn’t get the results she needed to attend her first choice university. But after going through Clearing to secure her place on a course she now loves, she thinks it is the best thing that could have happened to her!

“Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Especially in this day and age when mental health is spoken about so much, if you are feeling nervous or like you can’t do it, speak to a teach or counsellor. It’s not a sign of weakness it’s a sign you care and are passionate.”


Kevin got the GCSEs to go to college where he studied Biology, Chemistry, English and French. French is his second language, and he regrets not sticking with it. His AS level results were a disappointment and put an end to his plans to study medicine. Kevin made changes and, with persistence, he was able to get onto a foundation course and is now studying for a degree in biomedical science.

“If you don’t do well, it’s okay. You see all these people on the news with loads of As and it affects students, it puts them off. I can show them it will be okay.”


Heeran never really applied himself in school. He attended college and went on to apply to university, just because it was what everyone else was doing. He found out about an apprenticeship by chance and when he was accepted it completely changed his attitude to learning. He is now studying for his degree alongside his apprenticeship and has just been awarded National Apprentice of the Year.

“Being where I was, as my mum would happily say ‘the fast track to nowhere’, to where I am now, has given me a passion to present the opportunities available to young people.”


Dafydd has always been interested in music, and everyone assumed he would follow in his dad’s footsteps, to become a musician or composer. Dafydd decided to follow his own path instead. His exams didn’t go quite according to plan and he took resits to get the results he wanted. His persistence paid off and he's now waiting for his A level results and hopes to study English literature and politics.

“I sat 24 exams because I needed to do so many resits, as my first year didn’t go to plan and I didn’t want this to affect my overall grades in the second year.”


Chloe got high grades at GCSEs and went onto a highly selective grammar school to study A levels. She struggled at AS level, but felt too embarrassed to ask for help in front of other students. After failing her exams, she started her AS courses again, this time asking for help and managing her time better. She has just graduated as a mental health nurse.

“Don’t freak out. If you want something, you’ll get there. You’ll just get there a different way.”


Catrin sailed through GCSEs, but at sixth form failed her AS Psychology, so she switched to Science and completed the two-year course in one year! She didn’t want to go to university so she took a gap year and now works at an outdoor adventure centre, while working towards her Sports Leadership Level 3 Apprenticeship.

“You’ve been blasted by education since you were 6 years old...but there’s actually a lot more to the world than just exams and tests. So going out of education for one or two years, it’s just a way of seeing more things, getting more rounded, adding more to your CV.”


Angel resat some exams at school to bring up her grades and went to college where she gained a Level 3 Extended Diploma in TV and Film. Having decided she wasn’t quite ready to go to university, she deferred her entry by a year, gaining valuable experience in the meantime. She was due to start university this year but has instead accepted a job at a film studio. She is excited to start work in her dream industry and is glad she took the time to figure out what she truly wanted to do!

“Don’t be afraid of taking a year out or deferring your entry by a year to make sure that it’s the right choice for you.”


India’s plans changed dramatically when she unexpectedly failed two of her AS levels at sixth form. She picked up two new AS levels, staying on an extra year to complete them. She works for a market research company and hopes to study her passion at university – business studies.

“I’ve been through it all, I’ve dealt with failure. I’d advise young people to research lots, as stress comes from what you don’t know.”


Emily struggled with dyslexia at school. She wanted to study musical theatre at college but didn’t get the grades she needed. However, she was working part-time as a children’s entertainer and enjoyed it so much she found herself an apprenticeship placement at a local nursery. She completed her Level 1 Childcare Traineeship, winning a Traineeship Learner of the Year Award in the process.

“I have achieved so much in the last year whilst doing an apprenticeship – I thought I would never be able to say that!”