Bringing employability skills to students with autism in Doncaster

The learner recruitment team at Interserve Learning & Employment (ILE) recently visited Stone Hill School in Doncaster to provide employability skills and guidance to students with autism.

Head of learner engagement, Kelly Bailey, tasked her team with organising a day which would bring value to both the chosen organisation and to the employees at Interserve. The team were able to do this as part of an initiative by Interserve Group Limited which encourages employees to ‘give a day of your time’ to help others. 

Information, Advice & Guidance (IAG) advisor, JoAnne Williams spoke to Stone Hill School in Doncaster, a school that supports Special Educational Needs (SEN) students. The school were keen to discuss the lack of IAG for their pupils who are on the autistic spectrum.

JoAnne arranged to meet the senior leadership team at the school to find out how ILE could support the students. During the meeting, JoAnne found a solution as her work as an IAG advisor correlates with The Prince’s Trust Award standards, a qualification already delivered at the school.

Following the meeting, JoAnne arranged for the recruitment team to visit the school and offer the Year 9, 10 and 11 student’s two workshops which provided guidance around employability skills. JoAnne even designed a workbook for the students to support the sessions. The workbook not only met The Prince’s Trust standards, but it also allowed the workshops to be more relaxed and interactive.

Session one

Interserve Learning & Employment team members Laura Longden, James Chambers, Kelly Chambers and Emily Whitehead worked with small groups of students to deliver the interactive activities. The team delivered a carousel of employability skills and activities, all of which promoted teamwork, meeting deadlines and identifying skills & qualities. 

JoAnne commented: “The experience was just amazing and thoroughly enjoyed by staff, students and our team alike. We were offered cakes that the students had made us especially and the gratitude that we were shown was exceptional.”

Session two

During the second session, Zoe Lawrence, Jack Holden and Natalie Hall from Interserve Learning & Employment led on group activities which generated fantastic results. Students were engaged throughout and the questions and answers section at the end demonstrated just how much information the students had gained.

Hayley Potter and Rebecca Reid also delivered a range of activities relating to interviews, which demonstrated the skills required and how to prepare before an interview. The students participated in a series of mock interviews, where they got to be the judge on whether they would hire their session leaders. Both Hayley and Rebecca attracted outstanding praise from the staff at the school for their delivery and interaction with the students.

Following the two sessions, Stone Hill School got in contact with JoAnne to express their gratitude to the team, saying: “Thank you for two fantastic mornings reaching out to our Year 9, 10 & 11 pupils. The tasks were fun and engaging with a ‘grown up’ context which aids the development of maturity and independence for our pupils. The pupils were grateful to your team for giving up the time to come in and pass on your expertise. The work completed and experience provided will be valuable evidence towards their The Prince’s Trust awards.”

Commenting on the entire experience, JoAnne said, “As a team, we are so grateful to [our manager] Kelly for allowing us to take part in the day. It has not only boosted moral within our team but has also left us all feeling that we have done a worthwhile job in helping others to gain employability skills.”

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