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Local SEND student thrives thanks to supportive work experience placement at the Kimel Café in Wokingham

Local SEND student thrives thanks to supportive work experience placement at the Kimel Café in Wokingham

A young autistic learner from Bracknell and Wokingham College is excelling thanks to the help of a work experience placement at a café in Wokingham. 

The Kimel Café, created by the Kimel Foundation, opened in Wokingham in February to provide a supportive workplace training for neurodiverse young people. These placements will help them with social anxiety, increase their skills and provide experience to help them find future employment. 

Cameron has been doing work experience at The Kimel Café on a Wednesday for just over a month, which is helping him to learn valuable life skills including customer service, food preparation, cleaning, teamwork and putting English and maths skills into practice. It is also helping him to grow in confidence. 

Cameron is studying a Foundation Pathways course at Bracknell and Wokingham College.  

He said: “I’ve been helping to make toasties, sorting inventory and serving food to customers. 

“I’ve learnt how to make toasties and other life skills, like being able to serve and talk to customers, cleaning down the tables and working in a team. I’ve learnt to use the coffee machine, I got that down, I can assure you. I also help with washing the dishes and loading the dishwasher.  

“It’s helped me with organisation. I’m asked to do something, and I know what to do to do that.  

“It’s a good environment. The customers and the staff are nice. I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been fun.” 

Nic Lander, Founder and Director at The Kimel Foundation, said:

“Cameron’s a really nice person. He’s a good person to have around. He’s friendly. He gets on with what he’s asked to do, and he listens, which is all as an employer I want and at the end of the day I can pass on some of my knowledge to Cameron to help him improve. 

“I’ve noticed a massive difference to him from the day you walked in to today. He just gets on with it. He’s been here just under six weeks and the difference is massive!” 

Miriam White, Intensive Support Advisor – SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities), Activate Learning, said:

“The Kimel Café is a fantastic initiative for local young neurodiverse people, and we are so grateful to Nic for allowing Activate Learning to become involved.

“Finding work experience is increasingly difficult, especially for students with SEND, so to have the chance to work in a real-world cafe, where their challenges are understood, is invaluable for our students.  

“Cameron’s confidence has grown enormously in the short time he has been working at the cafe. And this is a testament to the support and encouragement he has received from the Kimel staff.” 

Cameron will continue to do work experience at The Kimel Café until the end of the academic year.  

Find out about our Foundation and Supported Studies programmes available at Bracknell and Wokingham College

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