We believe that everyone should be supported to explore and develop their own identity. Your identity is a blend of all your personality traits, culture, beliefs, physical attributes, abilities, ambitions, and other identifiers. It’s what makes you unique. We thrive on encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion of all identities and celebrating individuals for who they are.
We caught up with two of our amazing learners, Sam and Leo, who are both completing their level 2 animal care qualifications at Animal Antiks. They discuss their thoughts on identity and how it has impacted their journey so far.
Frankie: Have you ever struggled to explore parts of your identity?
Both: “Yes, we have both struggled with questioning our gender and sexuality. The hardest thing has been other people’s perceptions and dealing with the stigma that follows. At times, we’ve felt misunderstood and unsupported. We had believed that we didn’t fit in, that our struggles aren’t real and have had to deal with constant questioning. Due to the lack of understanding of hidden disabilities, this has affected our mental health as we fight for the right to be who we are.”
Frankie: What part of your identity are you most proud of?
Sam: “Not questioning myself and staying true to myself and continuing my own path. I’m proud of having a family that has been so supportive, and celebrated differences.”
Leo: “Being able to be myself, gaining an education and not allowing barriers to stop me moving forwards.”
Frankie: Has your identity played any part in your career goals for the future?
Both: “Our journey will not be straight forward and often has delays, but we will navigate through to get to where we want to be.”
Frankie: How do you feel being at Animal Antiks has benefitted you?
Both: “Being in an environment that we both enjoy helps with our learning. Being around people in the same situation really helps us feel comfortable, not judged, and has allowed us to be confident in ourselves. A big thank you Sarah for creating this safe space.
Our practical skills have developed massively and gives us an opportunity to succeed in the future. All our knowledge and skills have developed from our training sessions and caring for the livestock every day.”
FUN FACT: Leo’s mum read the book “Happiness for Beginners” by Carole Matthews and found the farm it was based on (Animal Antiks), which is how Leo got his placement.
Frankie: How does working with a Trainer-Coach help you?
Both: “Working with a Trainer Coach is completely different from school. We don’t feel judged, and you are always accommodating our preferred learning style. We’ve broken down the barriers we faced from learning in a classroom. You allow us to talk, ask questions and lead open discussions in our sessions.
Frankie: What are your plans for the future?
Both: “We both plan to work in the animal care industry in the future. We both like to on to a level 3 animal care qualification and we now have the skills to get there.”
Sam: “Being able to see a future at all is a big step for me.”
Leo: “I’m allowing my interests to direct my career.”
For more information about how we can support you, or your apprentices, contact us here.