Challenging Disability Through Outdoor Adventure



Calvert Trust Exmoor and Petroc join forces to teach students about the world of work

Calvert Trust Exmoor and Petroc have teamed up to offer supported learning students a unique opportunity to gain valuable work experience, enabling them to move into employment or on to further work based study.

 

Over the past academic year, as part of the college’s Supported Internship Programme, nine interns have successfully completed work placements at Calvert Trust Exmoor; a specialist outdoor adventure centre for people with disabilities, based on Exmoor.

 

The students have filled various roles throughout the centre, manning reception, carrying out housekeeping and maintenance duties and helping with outdoor activities, enabling them to move onto further placements with local companies including Tesco, Holsworthy Golf Club and St John’s Garden Centre.

 

Building on the success of the programme so far, Diane Dimond Principal at Petroc, and Tony Potter CEO of Calvert Trust Exmoor have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding, to cement plans for the next academic year and support further partnership work.

 

 

Next year, a Supported Internship Programme will be 100% based on site at Calvert Trust Exmoor. Currently, those on the programme still attend college for classroom-based activities. However, from September, Petroc will have its own classroom facility at the Trust, and students will be given instruction in employability skills onsite. There will also be a Job Coach based at the centre and two work-placed support workers, and the college will provide a minibus to transport students to and from the centre.

 

“We’ve been working with Calvert Trust Exmoor for over 20 years, bringing our students here to enjoy all their fantastic facilities, explained Alex Wittram, a supported learning lecturer at Petroc. “They have always been so supportive of the work we do, and vice versa. We have all been blown away by the success of the internship programmes, and we’re excited to develop the partnership further as we move into next year.“The Calvert Trust is an amazing training ground for our students, and we have seen them completely transform during their time here, which makes us incredibly proud."

 

Alan Sanders, a Supported Internship student, works on reception at the Trust. He said: “I answer calls and deal with general enquiries, which has really boosted my confidence. With all the skills that I’ve acquired I now feel ready to enter the workplace on a permanent basis and am hopeful that I’ll be able to find employment at the end of my course.”

 

The Calvert Trust internship is for students who are not quite ready to embark on an external work placement, giving them the opportunity to learn the vital skills needed in the workplace, in a safe environment and with the support of a specialist job coach. Each student is profiled to decide which area they will work in, based on their interests, skills and aspirations. Due to the flexibility of the programme, students are able to transfer from the Trust to an external placement as and when they are ready.

 

Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor said “We’re delighted how well the internship programme has gone; the students have become a valuable part of our team and worked hard to deliver excellence for our guests.The Memorandum of Understanding that our two organisations have signed today strengthens our long standing relationship, and builds a great platform for future collaborative working.”


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