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North Herts
Education Support Centre

Local Business Links

Linking curriculum learning to careers & experiences of work placements. 

For our Year 10/11 students, our aim is to prepare students for life after compulsory education.  We see our Centre as a fresh start for the students – no matter how unsuccessful they viewed themselves in education, we aim to make them want to come in….. and most of them do!  They see us as a way forward, an enjoyable place to be and somewhere they are going to achieve.  We offer these students an education within a positive secure environment where the partnership between staff and students is valued.

We are hoping to widen the horizons for our students, with work experience opportunities being one of our main objectives. Enabling work experience opportunities for our young people will result in them gaining experiences with working with a wider range of different people, enhancing their social and communication skills, and the possibility of ‘breaking the cycle’ – many young people find themselves in a situation where they cannot get a job because of lack of experience so taking part in a work placement gives them this valuable experience.

Members of staff continually strive to develop close links within local industry, these links are explored further during our Business Links event; when local companies are invited to visit the Centre and discuss potential opportunities. Many connections are already firmly established and are embedded into the vocational curriculum with work experience placements a part of many students timetable. STEM Ambassadors links are being developed with a Maths conference held biannually and links with the science and engineering sectors are being developed. 

 Construction

The construction department have forged strong links with a local construction company Willmott Dixon and enjoy visits to their building sites, to make their classroom practice ‘come to life’. Students also work towards achieving their CSCS card. The CSCS scheme is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry. Recently we were awarded a sum of money from Willmott Dixon for our continued hard work developing young people into the construction work force of the future. This is being used to introduce live streaming of lessons from the worksite into the students construction class room.  

 Mechanics

The mechanics department are in the process of joining a kart racing team, organised by the National Schools Karting Association (NatSKA). As well as providing a great sporting activity, karting develops individuals in so many ways. Drivers earn respect for one another; they enjoy the sportsman like competitiveness with their peers, rivals and team-mates. They learn how to work as a team, to support each other, to be patient, to persevere, how to deal with frustrations and setbacks, accept fair play and celebrate together in all their achievements. Students also have to ensure their karts are mechanically sound prior to the race and are able to fix faults that arise during the race. Students also have the opportunity to race and marshal. Work placements in local businesses are actively encouraged as part of the students timetable thus embedding their knowledge from the classroom into real life practice. 

 Catering

The catering department have been involved in several activities with local businesses, including the development of a vegetarian dish to appear on the menu of a local café. This gives the students the opportunities to learn about special diets, costings/profit margins and recipe development in a real life situation. A local butcher also visits on an annual basis and runs a workshop teaching the students how to joint a chicken; this is an essential practical skill to learn for the students aiming for a higher practical grade in their GCSE practical exam. There are also opportunities for students to complete work experience in the local area, this is in the process of being organised. A particular success that followed a practical skills workshop at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant last year, resulted in two students acquiring the opportunity to work in the kitchens of Jamie’s restaurant, with one student being asked back several times.

 Enterprise

The enterprise students have the responsibility of running our annual Christmas market stall in the centre of the town. Students are involved in the preparation of products, the advertising of the event, setting up the stall and dealing with customers; many students rise to the challenge and enjoy setting up deals and negotiating.

 Hair & Beauty

Business links with the many Hair & Beauty salons in the local area are being forged. A former student manages a local salon and has expressed a keen interest in offering our students some work experience opportunities. There are also links with a local beauty salon which will be both coming in and inviting our students to visit them for demonstrations of new techniques in the world of beauty.