Earlier this year students in Year 10 chose career areas for their work experience placements. The aim was to secure one of 2 options. We sourced the placements and in the 2 weeks prior to the start date each young person was supported in an informal interview with the employer. Also, areas including transport, lunch funding and specialist clothing were addressed so that when the placement started the main concern was for the young person to attend, focus on the job experience and use/develop their employability skills. Home visits and phone calls were made to parents/carers so that they knew exactly where and when a student would be attending and the type of work they would be doing. Attendance phone calls were made to employers every morning. The Oracle maintained contact with their Year 10s throughout the week. The professionals who provided this support included the allocated Project Workers, the Safeguarding Lead and the Work Experience Co-ordinator. Every student had a daily visit from a professional to see a friendly face, check if there were any issues and, in this week, to celebrate success informally with student and employer. Formal assessments were completed by the employer.

Here are some of the places to show the variety of placements:

  • Cozy Kennels and Cattery
  • Farrers Garage
  • Premier Inn Blackpool East
  • WH Smith
  • Topps Hair Fashions
  • Cozy Kennels and Cattery
  • Technical and Electrical Services Ltd
  • Blackpool Council, Garage Services, Layton Depot

It would be easy to share success stories for all the students and other report comments include:

  • Always asked if there were jobs to do
  • She listens to instructions and follows them well
  • …..we would happily have her back
  • He mixed well with other staff and was very chatty.

Overall this has been a very positive experience for The Oracle Year 10’s. They will be rewarded with certificates, photographs and a voucher to celebrate their level of achievement and effort as individuals.

All students received positive feedback about their participation, but I would like to focus on 3 students to illustrate this:

Jay Lea requested a hotel placement and we were lucky to get a placement at a national chain of hotels. Its location on the edge of town meant that a taxi was provided. Tasks included housekeeping duties (changing beds, dusting, hoovering), shadowing on reception and completing a wall display on powerpoint for the staff area. On the staff visit feedback was excellent and Jay was “an absolute treasure” and could we send more like him. He gained top marks in all areas including Communication and Teamwork with comments such as; ‘he was well presented and sought tasks – didn’t wait for instruction’. The photo shows Jay with the Operations Manager who requested it was taken to put on the national manager’s website as an example of good practice. On chatting to Jay he said that the reason it had been so successful was how welcome he felt as part of the team.

Decland Shaw’s placement allowed him to participate in a number of garage based tasks as the Council depot is home to a variety of vehicles. He used a high power jet wash, changed car oil and changed tyres. Dec had requested a mechanics placement and the employer was keen to point out what a positive experience it had been and how it had helped to encourage Dec to get some good GCSE’s and aim for an apprenticeship. Again an excellent placement where the student was made to feel welcome and part of the team as he rotated around the garage doing different tasks. Below is a photograph of Dec being hands on.

AJ’s (Antonio Pereira ) placement was with the company who have the contract with Blackpool Coastal Housing to electrical fault find in homes around the town. AJ arrived at 8am every morning and as he was out with the company van all day he got an early visit from his Project Worker every morning to check that things were going well. The placement showed how well that AJ was able to work with a professional on a 1:1 basis for a full day and visit a variety of homes. This requires a level of professional behaviour at all times. Again feedback was positive and the employer shared some career information so AJ has a focus for education in the future.

Viv Counsell-Thomas