At Meadowgate Academy, we have an active and successful work experience programme for our Sixth Form. All students get to experience either a work placement or experience work through the production of a product for a local employer in the familiar setting of school.
The students have experienced working in real life situations, built up relationships with colleagues, taken on responsibilities, had to organise themselves and develop their own confidence in ways that we can’t replicate at school.
We have found through developing strong relationships with our partner employers that it has definite benefits for both them and the student. For most employers, it is their first experience of having a young person with SEND in their workplace and without exception, they all hold our students in high regard, impressed by their professionalism and maturity. This important work is breaking down the barriers that stand between our young people and future employment.
The support we get from the local community is vital to developing our students into rounded citizens that have a value in the workplace and we can’t thank the staff in these businesses enough.
Students have successfully taken part in a variety of placements ranging from a local children’s centre, garages, tyre fitters, a barber and nationwide companies including Budgens, Halfords, Poundstretcher and Tesco. Each placement is personalised to the interests and needs of the student. Their experience of work is recorded through self-evaluation diaries and through the tracking of soft skills, recorded by staff.
We have two trained staff that accompany some of the students on their work placements and those who attend placements without Meadowgate staff are regularly appraised with the employer throughout the placement. Placements tend to be of at least 12 weeks duration with a commitment ranging from one hour to 2 days per week dependent upon the student.