From education to employment

Caring students find quality work experience at Beams

This week saw the culmination of a group work experience project for students on the Health, Care and Young People Level 1 Certificate at Greenwich Campus. They have completed a five-day placement working to improve facilities and environments at a children’s day and short-breaks unit in Hextable, Kent.

Beams is a charity that provides comprehensive support services to families of children and young people with any form of physical, learning or sensory impairment living in the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley areas.

During the experience, the students have become acquainted with the centre, its staff, children and parents, and were given the opportunity to fully engage with many of the activities that take place there. They have spent much of their time clearing and preparing spaces to make room for new apparatus and play areas and have even repaired and painted its perimeter fence using the charity’s corporate colours.

Their tutor, Jacqui Brooks has worked with the College’s Work Experience Department to plan and bring the project to life this term. Jacqui says: “I’ve worked alongside members of the trust for three years and as it has developed, it has thrown-up a number of potential starter-opportunities that I believed our students would be interested in.

“From day one, they have been consumed with the work they have been performing here and eager to learn more about the day-to-day running of the service. Several students have even enquired about returning to work here during the summer when Beams will run their Summer play schemes.”

Amy Dale, 16, from Thamesmead would like to study to become a midwife after completing her levels 1 to 3 courses at the College. She hopes to become a volunteer at the centre and spend more time working with the children who attend. She says: “I’ve always wanted to work in the caring sector and I feel like this type of work is my ultimate calling in life. It gives me so much pleasure to know I’m helping other people, particularly those less fortunate than me, to learn, explore and enjoy their lives.

“I would love to come and work here and I think I can supplement my studies by becoming more hands-on and learning from the professionals.”

Katrina Adams is the Head of the Beams Charity and is delighted with the work the students have done. In a letter to the College, she writes: “We have been so impressed with the students. Their behaviour, kindness and sincerity has been truly amazing. I can’t wait to see them back again soon.”

The students will soon be working with a group of business students to take part in fundraising activities. They aim to form a partnership and create a number of small enterprises within the College to sell cakes, snacks and soft drinks around the campuses and raise funds for new tools and materials for future projects with Beams.

London South East Colleges offers all full-time students the opportunity to work towards a Career Advantage programme alongside studying their main course. This provides them with the crucial skills required by employers and universities to give them that all-important competitive edge. The programme focuses their attention on collecting social, employability, entrepreneurial, digital and IT skills. Throughout the year, the students work towards a portfolio of achievements in these areas and can achieve bronze, silver and gold awards.

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