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Creative delivery for inclusive work experience

Suggested Age Range: 11-19
Hours to Prepare & Review: 4
Type of Activity: Classroom activities, remote work experience, guided trips and external visits.

The Special Partnership Trust are a multi-academy trust with 4 special schools supporting students with a range of disabilities and learning needs.

The interests of the students are generally wide but aspirations can be limited both in terms of personal ambition/expectation/confidence and also opportunity to broaden horizons.

One of the schools in the Trust is Nancealverne School in Penzance in the far west of Cornwall.  Industry and transport are both limited in this area and the main opportunities are in local retail and hospitality. The careers leader at the school is also the lead for careers development in the MAT and is a dedicated and passionate ambassador for the employability opportunities for the young people.  Despite this, opportunities for encounters with employers and good quality work experience remain limited.

 

 

To address this issue the careers leader has collaborated with their Enterprise Advisers who, among other things, run a website and marketing agency and currently deliver a magazine and website called Dog Friendly Cornwall which is a reviews and ratings publication which explores the businesses in Cornwall and how accommodating they are for customers with dogs.

Here is Viki telling about how she worked with the school:

“We first set out a brief for Naomi and the teacher Andrew who was supervising the activity outlining the tasks we wanted students to carry out and the skills and benefits they would gain as a result.

We then arranged and held a meeting with the students and teacher who were going to carry out the tasks. Primarily these were to research and carry out an excursion into Penzance with their therapy dog Frank the Pug to find and photograph some dog friendly locations that they would recommend our readers visit with their pets. They would then write the article, design a page and send us the words, pictures and magazine layout.

The students carried out this activity and sent us the material in time for our deadline. We then published the article in our spring Dog Friendly Cornwall guide.”

Following discussions around the need for a wide range of opportunities where students can become more familiar with employers, Viki and Emma, in their Enterprise Advisers role, came up with the idea of cloning the website and establishing a new publication called Access Cornwall which will look at how well businesses in Cornwall can accommodate people with a range of disabilities.

Access Cornwall provides a range of opportunities for students to participate in actual work experiences and projects which they will then see become content of the website.  This includes giving interviews, mystery shopper reviews, writing blogs and copy, photography, finding out about other businesses, creating resources etc.  Depending on the abilities of the students they can also chose to get involved in the budgeting and running of the business side of the venture.

From the school’s point of view, the success of the project and the impact for students was measured through the development of key skills, access to an employer from the local area through a project which was meaningful and relevant and the opportunity for a work experience option which was like nothing the students had been involved in before!

Following discussions around the need for a wide range of opportunities where students can become more familiar with employers, Viki and Emma, in their Enterprise Advisers role, came up with the idea of cloning the website and establishing a new publication called Access Cornwall which will look at how well businesses in Cornwall can accommodate people with a range of disabilities.

Access Cornwall provides a range of opportunities for students to participate in actual work experiences and projects which they will then see become content of the website.  This includes giving interviews, mystery shopper reviews, writing blogs and copy, photography, finding out about other businesses, creating resources etc.  Depending on the abilities of the students they can also chose to get involved in the budgeting and running of the business side of the venture.

From the school’s point of view, the success of the project and the impact for students was measured through the development of key skills, access to an employer from the local area through a project which was meaningful and relevant and the opportunity for a work experience option which was like nothing the students had been involved in before!

Quotes from school staff involved

“From the very start the idea for writing an article for Dog Friendly Cornwall was one which excited the young people in KS4 as it involved their favourite class member – Frank the Pug!”

“It gave another relevance to the work with Frank for the young people, as their interactions with him at been more basic – and now were linked with the local community.”

“The students could understand the importance of the project linked to their own experiences of having pets at home.”

“For those young people with complex needs, the opportunity to be able to take part in a group project which linked with their local community, as well as a local business was one which held a lot of social value and gave unique experiences which had not been offered before.”