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College student’s work chosen for national anthology

A Middlesbrough College student’s work has been chosen for a national anthology of creative writing.

Brodey Robson’s piece exploring the difficult topic of drug addiction and mental health will feature in Creative Writing in FE – Developing student voice through the written word, a collection of creative writing pieces put together by the Association of Colleges and set to be published later this year.

The 17-year-old’s work was selected from pieces submitted by students in more than 30 Further Education Colleges across the country to appear in the anthology.

Brodey, from Middlesbrough, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard my work had been selected – me and my mam cried!

“When it came to entering the competition, I thought ‘well, why not go for it?’ but I really didn’t expect to win.”

Brodey was encouraged to enter the competition by Sheila Ribeiro, her English tutor at Middlesbrough College where Brodey recently completed a vocational Level 1 course, Introduction to Health, Social Care and Children and Young People’s Settings, as well as resitting her English Language GCSE.

Sheila said: “My English team were on a short training course with AoC when they informed us of the competition, encouraging us to submit some students’ work.

“I spoke to Brodey about the competition and how it would be an opportunity to demonstrate her skills as I felt she had a natural talent with creative writing.”

Brodey said: “English was always something I really enjoyed when I was in school and something I’m really passionate about, but I had never really submitted something before.

“I worked on it for weeks to improve it and make it as good as I possibly could, but I never thought I would win something so big.

“I’m overwhelmed with the fact that I’ve been selected for such a prestigious competition.

“Hopefully it could help to open a lot of doors in terms of what I want to do next. I’m really proud of it.”

Brodey’s untitled piece is an unflinching look into the mind of a teenager facing up to drug addiction and mental illness.

She explained: “It all came from me – I didn’t go on the internet or Google, it was my own creative work.

“I want to go into a job where I can work with children and young people in difficult situations like those I describe in the piece.

“I’ve finished my Level 1 course and now, depending on my GCSE English resit, I’m hoping to do a Level 3 course in Health, Social Care and Children and Young People’s Settings, which will be another two years and will cover topics including childcare, mental wellbeing, consent and exploitation.”

In terms of advice to others considering making their mark in competitions like the Association of Colleges anthology, Brodey said: “It’s about putting your mind to it and having belief in yourself.

“If you think you can’t do it, you can.”