A TEENAGE student is balancing college assignments with her role as a key worker during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Cerys Harris wakes at 4am every day before beginning a 5am shift as a home delivery picker at Morrisons supermarket in Rhyl.
The 17 year-old is on the shop floor until 12.30pm, before returning to the home she shares in the town with mum Rhian, her sister and grandparents.
Currently studying AS Levels in History, Law and English Language at Coleg Cambria, Cerys is on track to attain high grades and is progressing well, embracing remote learning while keeping in touch with classmates.
She even secured a work placement with London-based law firm LedLet this summer, that now looks set to take place via phone calls and video conferencing.
“Everything was going great, I had just been for an interview at Morrisons for a job I could do at weekends and during the summer and was looking forward to the year ahead,” said the former Rhyl High School pupil.
“Like everyone else, it’s been a challenging time but my colleagues at Morrisons have been amazing and the tutors at Deeside Sixth Form Centre are very supportive, getting in touch every day to see how we are and sending us work to do.
“I am in contact with friends, but it is difficult not seeing everybody, especially as a lot of them live locally and travel to the college with me every day.”
Cerys is working 35 hours a week at Morrisons and says the environment has improved, with more people getting to grips with rules around social distancing.
“At first it was challenging, a lot of them were not keeping their distance, there were issues over stock running low or running out because of panic buying nationally,” she said.
“I think we’ve all adapted, and a lot of that is down to the staff here, we’ve all stuck together and it’s such a great team.”
Cerys added: “I’m here early in the morning so when I do finish in the afternoon, I am still in a work mindset and go straight to my coursework and revision.
“It’s a lot to take on but I think it’s helped me physically and mentally because the time has gone quicker, I haven’t had time to dwell on what’s happening, we just try and get the job done as safely as possible.
“I count myself lucky to have this job and really enjoy it, especially as we helping to get stock out to people during what is a really tough time for them, and for all of us.”
Miriam Riddell, Head of Deeside Sixth Form Centre, praised Cerys for her positive attitude, adding: “The way she has managed to complete her college work while being out there on the frontline helping to ensure people self-isolating are able to get their shopping safely, is admirable – we are very proud of her, she’s an inspiration.”
For more on the wide range of courses and qualifications available at Coleg Cambria, visit www.cambria.ac.uk