From education to employment

Everything is ‘coming up roses’ for ILS students

The Independent Living Skills department at Gower College Swansea is working with the City & County of Swansea to provide placements for students and help ensure our local ‘Green Flag’ parks are well maintained and cared for.

Over the past two years, students from the SSTEP (Students Transition Towards Employment Progression) and AOW (Academy of Work) courses at the Tycoch campus have gained invaluable practical experience thanks to this ongoing partnership.

Working at a number of locations across the city including Clyne Gardens, Victoria Park, Brynmill, the Botanical Gardens at Singleton and Cwmdonkin, students have been getting involved in various horticultural duties such as hand weeding, shrub pruning, using hand held petrol-driven machinery and litter picking.

“We have six students – Tomos Leach, Ben Shepherd, Jamie Norris, Manuel Sanji, Ricky Morris and Joanne Mucha – benefitting from this College / Council collaboration so far,” says Karen McDonald, Workplace Coordinator at Gower College Swansea. “The roles they have been placed into have ranged from administration – we have one student working in the office at Home Farm – to practical tasks out and about in the parks. All these students are meeting new people and learning new transferable skills which will hopefully help them to secure paid employment in the future. I’m delighted that our relationship with the City & County of Swansea is allowing our ILS students to enjoy these fantastic opportunities.”

“Five parks in Swansea enjoy Green Flag status and we’re immensely proud of the long-term commitment to high horticultural standards, cleanliness and sustainability that this involves,” says Simon Lydiard, Senior Contracts Manager within Parks Operations at City & County of Swansea. “Our parks are the ‘green lungs’ of Swansea and make a difference to the thousands of visitors and tourists they attract every day. An important part of the success story of our parks is the partnership with Karen and her team at Gower College Swansea, which has grown from strength to strength in recent years.

“The time that students spend with us within the Parks Service not only gives them the opportunity to learn key horticultural duties, but also to develop their communication skills and give them the experience of working in a team environment – knowledge that will no doubt be of real help to them in the future when seeking employment.”

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