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We Discover – Our Education work with SEND schools

20 Jul 2023

The Education Team have finished delivering employability sessions for the year on the ‘We Discover’ project supporting students in 9 special schools across Leicester and Leicestershire.

This year we delivered 43 successful, enjoyable employability sessions and workshops in total, ranging from work tours, careers talks, workplace behaviour sessions to mock interviews and lively ‘Guess my Job’ sessions. All sessions included participatory activities and the chance to ask questions and be supported by our volunteers from business.

Across all the sessions, schools and colleges involved gave overwhelmingly positive feedback:

  • 78% rated overall events as excellent, 22% as good
  • 90% rated organisation from Leicestershire Cares as excellent, 10% as good
  • 80% rated the speakers / volunteers as excellent, 20% as good

We had feedback from 22 volunteers who participated:

  • 73% rated the event as excellent overall, 27% as good
  • 86% rated Leicestershire Cares’ organisation as excellent, 14% as good

‘The students I had the pleasure of meeting with today were inspiring and showed great enthusiasm that left a lasting impression on me.
Through these mock interviews, I hope to have helped them gain confidence and valuable feedback that they can use to improve their interviewing skills. Overall, it was a great experience.’

Terri Walker, a volunteer from J Tomlinson

This term, we delivered 17 events for 9 schools with 54 volunteers supporting 172 students with SEND. Once again, the workplace tours were particularly popular with students, schools and business staff. They helped to raise awareness of disability in the workplace, challenge preconceptions about what young people with SEND are capable of and helped to promote inclusivity.

You can read further about our work tours here:

The Wonderful World of Work! Two brilliant work tours hosted by Thermo Fisher Scientific for students with SEND | Leicestershire Cares

The work tour visit by students from Ash Field Academy to Lady Jane Court Care Home in June was a standout event for students involved.

Read more about it here:

We Discover - A fantastic work tour in a Care Home | Leicestershire Cares

‘Absolutely invaluable experience for our pupils. Thank you so much. One of our students said it was his best experience he had had in school.’

Victoria Mills, Teacher, Ash Field Academy

‘From the moment I came in the experience was amazing.’

‘Very rewarding to give back. Talent comes is in all shapes and sizes and everyone should be heard.’

‘Great school offering truly amazing support and care to vulnerable children.’

‘I gained immense pleasure and satisfaction from seeing how engaged and enthusiastic the students were.’

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the session today. The students were brilliant and a pleasure to meet. Hopefully they found it useful and interesting. Thank you for inviting me along, I look forward to the next time.’

Volunteers from business on their experience

We had an interesting session on rights in the workplace and disclosing disability at Birkett House Senior School where a volunteer with Asperger's came in to talk to students about his personal experience of work.

The CV workshops, workplace behaviour workshops and interview technique sessions were also popular with schools and volunteers alike.

‘It was so nice to have a speaker who can relate to the students that are within our school.’

‘The students will think about when they need to inform employers of their SEND needs.’

Teacher, Birkett House Seniors School

‘Personally I went into the session not knowing what a CV looked like and I am now leaving the session knowing what things should go in a CV and what it looks like.’

Student participant

‘Anything is possible if you stay motivated and aim high then positives will happen.’

‘We all worked well as a team and everybody had different views.’

‘Teamwork skills, listening to people, learn from your mistakes.’

Student participants on a workplace behaviours session

‘It gave the students a good insight and skill building that they need, the volunteers even offered to look into apprenticeships and possible work experience.’

Teacher, Birch Wood School about a workplace behaviours session

We would like to offer our huge thanks and appreciation to all our brilliant volunteers who supported We Discover sessions over the year. Volunteering your time and sharing your employability skills and knowledge has made a big difference to many young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability. We could not have done it without you!

We’d also like to thank the brilliant schools we worked with and their hardworking, dedicated staff who always go the extra mile to support their students. Lastly, we’d like to thank the wonderful students who we met on this project. Their enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, engage with us and our volunteers and their positive, fun outlook made every session a unique and rewarding experience.

Fiona Spence-Arnold, Education Development Officer

If you would like to get involved in volunteering for our Education projects next term, please contact Head of Children and Young People, Amy Cook