Guernsey College of Further Education has evolved its Access programme to ensure that students with special educational needs develop the appropriate skills to enter employment at the end of their qualification. The programme has been divided into four learning pathways – Life Skills, Progression, Step Up and Workforce Academy.
The ‘Life Skills’ pathway is for students who would benefit from developing their practical life skills in the home and in the community. Students study a City and Guilds qualification at Entry Level 1. Each week, they engage in ‘out and about’ activities and visits to local attractions. Students also participate in healthy activities, for example, swimming at Beau Sejour, walks in the park and sailing. The course supports learners in transitioning to adult services and other community agencies.
The ‘Progression’ pathway has been designed to support personal development and exploration of the workplace. They are studying a City and Guilds qualification at Entry Level 2/3. The College aims for this group to develop independence, self-awareness and personal direction of growth relating to work placements and healthy living choices. This course will feed into Workforce Academy or Step Up.
The ‘Step Up’ pathway includes students who are considering a Progress to Level 1 pathway option, preparing them for further study at this level. It also offers work placement experience for those students interested in pursuing employment opportunities in a vocational setting on completion of this course.
The ‘Workforce Academy’ pathway is for students aged 16 – 22 with special educational needs. The programme supports students in undertaking work placements in meaningful employment three days per week, with the remaining two days spent at the College studying for a City and Guilds Qualification at Entry Level 3 in Retail, Hospitality and Catering.
Currently, students on the Workforce Academy are enjoying placements at States Works’ landscaping department, Les Cotils, Chateau Des Tielles care home, the College’s own campus cafés, Elizabeth College, GROW Ltd, and Creature Comforts pet shop.
The course runs over 36 weeks, and the aim is that the majority of these students will progress to purposeful employment at the end of the academic year, in a full-time, part-time or voluntary capacity. The course evolved after consultation with external agencies and the realisation that there was a need for students with low-level skills to gain meaningful employment with support.
Feedback from the students on the Workforce Academy Programme has been very positive.
Alex Houchard said: “My workplace is amazing, I really enjoy working with Ellie, washing and drying up and putting things away. I cook chips and make pizzas for the customers and sometimes for my lunch.”
Erin Brouard (shown in main photo) said: “I absolutely love working at the Chateau des Tielles, it’s so fun. I made tea and coffee and even helped feed someone who couldn’t do it for themselves. On Friday I will be playing games with the residents and talking to them.”
Nathan Allen said: “I have worked at the College café for a year now learning how to be a catering assistant. I’m now helping to train other students who are new to the cafés.”
Programme Leader for Guernsey College of Further Education Access programme Sue Lambeth said: “The review of our study programme has enabled us to fully match a student’s individual ability and potential to the appropriate learning pathway. It is essential that the skills and knowledge that our students develop fully equip them to enter employment and to lead as independent a life as possible.”
If any employers are interested in getting involved with the programme, they should contact Tristan Bearman at email@example.com