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Pioneering work placement scheme proves a winner

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Wakefield College student Amy Wightman outside the Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield.

A work placement programme which allows young people with severe learning difficulties or disabilities gain experience with partner organisations has been hailed a success. The Get SET initiative, run by Wakefield College, has partnered up with local organisations including Caterlink, Nostell Priory, Cedar Court Hotel, and Create Café to provide students with work placements.

Get SET uses a technique called job carving, which means that the young person focuses on one or two aspects of a job and learns how to do these well. Job carving also offers benefits to the employer as it can lead to improved productivity, service delivery, and profitability. Students are supported in their placement by a job coach who ensures that they are fully trained to undertake their role effectively.

College student Amy Wightman has quickly settled into her placement with Cedar Court Hotel as part of the housekeeping team. Commenting on her experiences so far, Amy said: “Since starting my placement I feel much more motivated. The staff have been really supportive and have given me responsibilities sooner than I expected. I really enjoy my placement.”

Deputy Head Housekeeper at Cedar Court, Amanda Spacek has been full of praise for Amy. She said: “Amy has been part of our team for a few weeks now and has really begun to shine. When she arrived she was very timid but it took her no time at all to find her feet! With training from housekeeping members here, she can now confidently make a bed to hotel standard, clean bathrooms and fill with correct guest amenities, polish bedrooms, and meet all the required standards. Amy is a polite and pleasant young lady who is very capable and hardworking.”

Wakefield College Assistant Principal, Jo Simister said: “At Wakefield College we believe that preparing students for successful progression into employment is fundamental to our role as the district’s largest provider of further education. Our inclusive approach means we believe that this progression should be available to all students, regardless of their starting point.

“Nationally, far too many individuals with learning difficulties find themselves unable to gain or maintain employment. Typically, fewer than 10% of adults with learning difficulties are in employment. We don’t think that this is good enough, and that’s why we introduced our Get SET programme.”

Amy Hadfield, Curriculum Development Manager at the College, added: “Line managing Get SET and seeing the progress that our students make is extremely rewarding. We’ve been very lucky to work with some fantastic employers in the local community who are keen to work with students and encourage them to gain the skills they need for employment or training. I'm very happy that all students are proactive and enthusiastic about their placements and are thriving in the workplace environments! My team of job coaches are excellent and have worked hard to encourage local employers to take students on and support them through each stage. Overall, I’m very pleased with our outcomes and feedback!.”

Ends

CONTACT: For more information email info@wakefield.ac.uk, or telephone 01924 789789.
DATE: 29 April, 2015

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