Courtney, 14, from Bury, was struggling with school life and finding it hard to control her anger, which was starting to have a negative impact on her education.

One of her teachers knew Courtney was struggling to control her temper but that she was interested in a career in childcare so recommended she take part in the Teens & Toddlers programme.

“My teachers put me on this programme because I've not always found school life easy…I think they want me to become more of an assertive person rather than aggressive because I do find it hard to contain my anger with certain situations.”

As part of the 16 week Teens & Toddlers educational programme, Courtney mentored Alfie – a toddler who she spent time with once a week at a local nursery.

“My toddler…didn't speak very much when I first went into the nursery. And then the second time around, he was a lot more open and it seemed to me he felt more comfortable being around me and talking to me than the first time I went in. I'm quite an open person so when I shared things about my family, he'd open up to me more about his family.”

Courtney describes her time on the programme as being hugely positive and something which has inspired real change:

“I'd say I've changed since I started the programme because my patience levels have built massively… So I've been able to take that skill from there and use it in school. I've been able to be more patient with teachers, more patient with myself and more patient with things that I don't really get as easy as I should… I've learned how to communicate better with people that maybe I wouldn't always communicate with. I've learned how to listen a lot more.”

“I'm very proud of what I've achieved on the programme I think it's made me better as a person in myself and it's opened doors to more opportunities than I thought I had at the beginning of the project.”

And it’s not just Courtney who’s benefitted – Alfie gained social confidence through spending time with Courtney while also developing his numeracy and phonics skills.

“My toddler was a shy person at first who didn't really take himself out and mix with everyone else…but he’s improved a lot. He seems a lot more happy…and rather than you tell him to go out and mix with other children he does it himself, so he’s a lot more independent as well.

“I think that he’s benefitted from me being there because there’s somebody there that he knows. That even if there's no other children that want to play with him - that I'm still there… [we] go over his basic words, his phonics and stuff like that. So I think he’s benefitted in a few ways really.”

Since completing the Teens and Toddlers programme, Courtney is getting so much more out of her school life and education. She’s achieved a national qualification in Interpersonal Skills and has been offered opportunities to gain more experience in childcare settings and similar areas of work.

Courtney also recently featured in a new video created in partnership with Deloitte, aimed at capturing the special relationships formed between mentors and mentees during the Teens and Toddlers programme.