11 Jul

Business supported SEND students gain real world work experience

Work experience celebration

Business supported SEND students from Leicester’s Ashfield Academy to gain real world work experience in collaboration with Access Rating attended a celebration event on Wednesday 22nd June.

The celebration event was attended by Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Eileen Richards and Councillor and Assistant City Mayor, Danny Myers, who awarded students with certificates and trophies to celebrate their success. Students spoke passionately about how this invaluable real-life experience gave them confidence and insight about the working world.

For the project students were sent job descriptions for the role of ‘project assistants’ and were supported to write their CV and a covering letter for the role, before being interviewed. Enterprise Adviser Richard Copson, from Access Rating supported students with creating an accessibility guide to rate and review facilities to support disabled access venues in Leicester City Centre. This live work experience took place on-site at the school and allowed students to participate in a meaningful and bespoke encounter.

The guide that students worked on that will be published and includes reviews of local bars, hotels, tourist attractions, sports, theatre and music venues. Students researched toilets and changing facilities, transport and parking; creating the content to review each venue and, the design and logo of the guide.

With a prediction of 251,200 people being classed as having a disability in Leicester City by 2025, and following the success with students at the Ash Field Academy, the LLEP are excited to see the development of this project with Access Rating working with more schools in the city.

Gerarde Manley, Strategic Careers Hub Lead said:

“The Work Experience Hub at Ash Field Academy is fantastic project offering students first-hand opportunities and experiences about the world of work by bringing employers into the school and getting students involved in meaningful workplace tasks.

It isn’t always possible for all young people to experience a real workplace setting, so by creating the Hub it provides a real-life workplace housed in the school.  The Hub is already having a positive impact on the young people and employers engaged in the project like Access Ratings.  The LLEP Careers Hub and the Careers and Enterprise Company are delighted to have funded this collaborative project which is helping to create a blueprint for other schools to follow.”

Rich Copson, Enterprise Adviser for the Ash Field Academy said:

“Absolutely one of my proudest moments to see this video and the difference we have made working together to make this project happen. I am determined to now try and turn this employment hub into something for SEND students throughout Leicestershire, I’ve found my passion and it’s really motivated me to make it work.”

Local businesses that can support our young people to gain access to the world of work and provide meaningful experiences of the workplace are always welcomed. If this is something you are able to support, please get in touch with the LLEP Careers Hub team: ean@llep.org.uk 

To gain insight on the role and see how Rich was celebrated as a Careers Champion for his work with the students follow this link.