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Work-ready students shine at inaugural awards evening

Students, proud parents and employers are set to celebrate the first ever workplace skills awards evening at Haywood Sixth Form Academy in Burslem.

The evening brings together the first student graduates of the pioneering Work Based Learning programme which launched in September 2015, and sees them complete a pre-traineeship of up to 12-months in the workplace.

During the evening 10 awards will be presented recognising key attributes the students have gained while on placement, including determination, endeavour, exceeding expectations and social development.

Among the winners is Garilyn Houghton, winner of the Community Award, who worked at the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, but who went far beyond her role to raise vital funds through sponsored activities including shaving her head.

For fellow award winners Simon Eckersley, Oliver Whittaker, Jamie Beardmore, Sarah Badderley and Ben Hollins, it’s a double celebration as they have all successfully secured apprenticeships and now start their professional careers.

Jamie Beardmore, from Tunstall, said: “If it wasn’t for the partnerships between the sixth form and different businesses I would have never come across TP Systems, and the combination of the partnership has created this opportunity for me.

“TP Systems have been excellent employers and made me feel welcome from the start, and I’ve enjoyed meeting their team.

“If it wasn’t for me attending Haywood Sixth Form Academy I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now with an apprenticeship, as the sixth form has prepared me with work skills I can now use in any job.”

Mike Whittingham, Deputy Headteacher at Haywood Sixth Form Academy, said: “The evening is a true celebration of the skills these students have developed and recognition of their achievements, as it’s no easy task at 16 to go into a workplace and to hit the ground running.

“The fact that the majority of them have been successfully accepted onto apprenticeships is proof that quality work experience is key to securing a career, and that our Work Based Learning programme delivers that.

“It puts our students in a much stronger position to succeed in their chosen careers and we wish them every success for the future.”

Carl Ward, Executive Headteacher of Haywood Sixth form Academy, said: “This event not only marks the wonderful achievements of our students, but also of our work based learning team who have nurtured them through this process.

“The team have helped create these opportunities and supported the students from start to finish to achieve their goals, and it’s this team effort between our students, staff and parents that I’m very proud to acknowledge at our awards evening.”

The award winners:

Determination & Work Skills Award sponsored by M + M Group – SIMON ECKERSLEY – (Simon now has an apprenticeship at Dial A Handyman)

Community Award sponsored by Synectics Solutions – GARILYN HOUGHTON – (Garilyn is undertaking further professional development with PM Training)

Employability Skills Award sponsored by Myers & Co Solicitors – CHARLES JARRETT

Work Experience Excellence Award sponsored by Steelite – MEGAN ABBOTT

Personal Social Development Award sponsored by Autonet Insurance Group – LUKE MEDDINGS

Endeavour Award sponsored by Haywood Sixth Form Academy – OLIVER WHITTAKER  – (Oliver now has an apprenticeship at KMF Precision Sheet Metal Manufacturing)

Exceeding Expectation Award sponsored by Haywood Sixth Form Academy – AMEENA KHAN

Apprentice Award sponsored by PM Training – JAMIE BEARDMORE – (Jamie now has an apprenticeship at TP Systems Ltd)

Work Based Learner of the Year sponsored by Pearson – SARAH BADDERLEY – (Sarah now has an apprenticeship at DPC Chartered Accountants)

Industrial Cadet of the Year sponsored by the Industrial Cadets – BEN HOLLINS – (now has an apprenticeship at Bennett Architectural Aluminium Solutions Ltd)

The Academy works directly with local businesses to deliver its Work-Based Learning programme and has over 1000 businesses signed up to the programme, including Steelite International, Autonet Insurance, Myers and Co Solicitors, Synetics-solutions, Pm Training, M and M Group and the NHS.

The approach involves two distinct elements after a four-week induction programme:

  • Two days per week at Haywood Sixth Form Academy studying employability skills, Maths and English to minimum Level 2.
  • Three days per week completing work experience, developing professional skills, which will be assessed in one of the partner businesses as part of an exclusive employment certificate.

The Work Based Learning option is a ‘pre-traineeship’ and lasts for eight to 12 months. This is an education and training programme that is combined with real, beneficial, work experience and is focused on giving students the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

At the end of the programme, students receive a work-based learning qualification called “The Employment Certificate” assured by Pearson and then move onto an apprenticeship or job in their chosen field.

Work-based learning opportunities include hospitality, hair and beauty, child care, teaching, engineering, manufacturing, several roles within the NHS, construction, plumbing, digital marketing, web design, social media, graphic design, HR, business administration, insurance, IT, finance, customer service and more.

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At Holden Lane, we are thrilled to be joining the City Learning Trust. We will relish working in formal partnership with like-minded schools, developing “leaders of learning” both within the classroom and beyond, in an environment where there is mutual respect, a shared vision and a culture of continuous improvement.

Clare Thomas

Headteacher, Holden Lane Primary School