VOCATIONAL TRAINING & LIFE SKILLS PROGRAMME
Transition to employment is a vital step for anyone, especially if you have learning differences. A supported, adapted and structured environment is needed to help enable our trainees to reach their full potential.
We run an accredited UK Life Skills Programme (ASDAN) alongside work based learning. Our trainees experience hands-on employment in our coffee shop whilst developing integral life skills in the vocational training centre above. They produce a portfolio of work which enables them to demonstrate their skills in a style which suits their needs and receive certification for the units they complete.
The coffee shop is adapted with visual supports, colour coded equipment, sensory and quiet areas, information points and staff who are trained in key word signing. For those who don’t need or no longer need these supports, they are removed to ensure progress.
By giving our trainees simple tasks we know they can achieve, we instantly see a boost in their confidence and self-esteem. Gradually we introduce more challenging activities which they are prepared to tackle. So often, they have not been given the chance to succeed and at Steps we aim to change that.
All students complete a 6 week induction before working in the coffee shop to ensure they are ready for the programme which covers:
Induction to the workplace – meet their colleagues and staff, familiarise themselves with the work environment, understanding the daily routine, learning about the ethos of the coffee shop
Set expectations – punctuality and timekeeping, being presentable, uniform, break and lunch times, what to do in case of being sick/needing help/feeling upset. Outlining what the students would like to achieve and creating our target wall.
Hygiene and health and safety – basic first aid training and workshops orientated around the importance of hygiene and cleanliness in the kitchen. We also look at food storage, refrigeration and freezing. At the end of this training, the students will complete an online assessment which gives them a certificate in health and safety.
Kitchen overview – learning and identifying the different equipment found in the kitchen, how to store ingredients, where equipment is kept and how we maintain it.
Steps to success – students will be introduced to our reward scheme which enables them to earn ‘I can’ badges for different areas of success in the workplace. Each badge they earn is presented during our monthly achievement ceremony and is then sewn onto their apron.
Following the 6 week induction to the programme, students begin units which focus on skills including:
- How to dress appropriately for work
- Handling money
- How to write a resume/CV
- Talking with the public
- Following directions
- Working with colleagues
- Building peer relationships
- Problem solving skills
- Conflict resolution
- Learning to prepare food and drinks
- Customer service
- Cleaning tables and equipment
- Use of kitchen tools
- Use of ICT such as sending emails and blogging
- Stock taking
- Ordering supplies
- Handling customer enquiries
- Using the cashier
- Creating staff rosters
- Being assertive
- Leading meetings
Each person is different with a set of unique skills and therefore each programme is individualised to best allow our trainees to reach their potential. Self-esteem and achievable targets are key to effective learning and success. Each time one of our trainees completes a module within a unit, they earn a badge of recognition that is put on their apron so they can share their success with colleagues and customers. We also have a wall of positivity on which customers and staff leave comments for our students. They start each day by visually seeing how capable they are and this has a huge impact.