Teresa was referred to the Cedar Foundation by her school SENCO as she needed specific specialised support to gain her long term goals due to challenges experienced from her Acquired Brain Injury that the Cedar Foundation could provide.

With support from Cedar, Teresa went on to study a Foundation degree in Horticulture.

As part of her final year studies Teresa was offered a 3-month study opportunity in Michigan USA and while Teresa was nervous about going and leaving home, she was not willing to pass up such a great opportunity.

Teresa left for Michigan on the 22nd August 2019 and was back in time for Christmas in mid-December. Teresa had a great time in Michigan but found it “both exciting and challenging at the same time”. Even though Teresa was in the USA through the powers of technology Teresa was able to stay on the Inclusions Works programme and was regularly in touch with Margaret her Case Officer, keeping her up to date with her progress.

 “Even though things were done differently in the USA there were people there to help me through it on both sides. Knowing this helped me to work and feel more at ease as I have never been abroad before. This opportunity has also led me to gaining new experiences and friends”.

While in Michigan Teresa had to ensure she had a work placement set up for her return. Teresa’s Case Officer successfully secured a work placement in Montgomery Nurseries, and even though Teresa was in the USA her Case Officer liaised with William from Montgomery Nurseries and CAFRE College to ensure that Teresa’s  work placement was waiting for her when she returned from Michigan. Unfortunately, Teresa’s work placement had to finish early due to the Covid-19 situation, but Teresa was able to use previous experiences to complete her studies.

“Things didn't go exactly go to plan, but I did gain some insight to the business. This had led me to want to work more in the growing sector and I am grateful that I had Cedar’s help to do this.”

Teresa is now waiting on her final year results. She is both nervous and excited about her future but is looking forward to working in the Horticulture industry.

“I have worked hard and have achieved so much and for now I will take a year out of my studies, but next year I hope to continue with my education and complete a BSc in Horticulture.  I am excited for what's yet to come. Thank you Cedar for all your help.”

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy. Funding is also provided by the Department for Communities and all five local HSCTs in Northern Ireland.