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Richmond upon Thames College Students Undertake Work Experience at St Mary’s

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Richmond upon Thames College Students Undertake Work Experience at St Mary’s

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Five students from Richmond upon Thames College are taking part in a collaborative work experience project with St Mary’s University, Twickenham. The work experience project, now in its third year, sees students with special educational needs (SEN) undertake work experience placements at St Mary’s, once a week for 10 weeks. The aim of this project is to equip the young people with employability skills in a real work setting and to improve their chances of getting into paid work when they leave education. Typically SEN students are offered fewer work experience opportunities than their non-disabled peers; this project recognises that they the opposite is required. A critical element of the project is the role of the mentors from St Mary’s, as they not only have a teaching function but will also support the young people to develop their understanding of workplace culture and to build up their confidence and expectations. This year’s Mentors are Fitness and Conditioning Suite Manager Jamie Evans, Catering Supervisor Jackie Bull, Domestic Supervisor Deena Mejer, and Deputy Grounds Manager Stephen Fogden. Senior Staff Development Manager at St Mary’s Paula Keane said, “The success of the project has been dependent on communication between all parties, with a clear strategy and project outline.  The positive impact the Mentors have had on the Mentees has contributed to a visible increase in confidence and self-esteem.  Trust, honesty, social inclusion has formed the foundations for the successful outcomes thus far.” Curriculum Coordinator for Functional Skills and Adult Independent Living Course Tutor at Richmond upon Thames College Shona Corben said, “Mentors and their colleagues have given our students with learning disabilities, a rare chance to have a go at real work; but the students have gained more than this, they have been respected for the people they are and the skills they have developed are immeasurable. Without the continued vision of Paula Keane to include our students and the communication with her team, the experience would not have been so successful.”
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