At St Elizabeth's College, vocational learning opportunities are an integral element of the curriculum offer. We work closely with external partners to enable learners to have a diverse range of work-related learning activities available to them.
Some examples of the types of vocational activities that learners undertake include:
Church Farm - Learners attend this off site work related learning activity once every week and throughout the academic year. At Church farm learners can undertake vocational units of qualifications if appropriate or activities that support them to develop core skills for life such as: following instructions including health and safety and the use of protective clothing and equipment, working with a range of tools, caring for small animals and also horticulture. These skills are transferrable in a range of settings and learners enjoy the opportunity to attend the working farm. They work as teams and individually, supported by College staff building their confidence, improving their communication skills and having fun at the same time.
Rainbow Rural - Rainbow Rural is a low arousal setting in Great Dunmow. Learners attend for a whole day once per week for 30 weeks of the academic year. This partnership was developed to offer a different work related learning and independent skill development opportunity with an organisation that has a good understanding of learners within the autistic spectrum, although it is important to note that autism is not a pre-requisite for attending. Here they learn how to maintain a rural setting and care for nature. Whilst attending learners prepare their lunch which includes making fresh soups and sandwiches and food for the animals.
Music Therapy - The College is constantly looking at opportunities to further enhance the curriculum. We currently commission a Music Therapist one day a week. Music therapy is a specialist use of music aiming to support emotional and physical wellbeing. The benefits of accessing this type of therapy helps develop communication, social skills and provides a route for our learners to explore their creativity.
Open three times a week, our onsite shop Handy & Candy gives learners the chance to experience what running a shop involves including serving customers, cash handling, stock taking and housekeeping, providing real life opportunity to develop customer service skills.
Learners gain units of qualifications through these learning environments which help build a ‘passport’ to take with them when they transition from the College.
The College have recently developed close working arrangements with Hertfordshire Connexions Service and as a result, we have an Information, Advice and Guidance Coordinator from Hertfordshire Connexions come in for 20 days a year. Our Coordinator is a specialist in supporting young people with Special Educational Needs, and holds 1:1s with the students as well as working with families to discuss options and links with their local authorities. The Coordinator works alongside the lecturers, goes into classrooms and supports those who want to develop their CVS, all while offering impartial advice to support their transition. The aim is to help learners realise their goals and aspirations and to live more independently.
Using this information, we have secured a number of work experience placements within local businesses and are continuing to progress this important part of our curriculum.