30 Nov

We have had another busy week at Medtia Square and on Wednesday I witnessed a real ‘Wow!’ moment when I was down at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). As you may know, we have been running our Bridging the Gap Project at MMU for 7 years now and we currently have 3 students based in Manchester at MMU with their job coach, Genna. On Wednesday I visited our current students and it was a real pleasure to see how well they are all doing on their placements. I was really thrilled to hear that Lewis has been offered a 9 month placement with the IT team at the university which he started on Monday. Lewis was previously on our Digit4ll pathway and has a real interest in a career in IT, so this is the perfect match for him.

I set off with Genna to see Lewis on placement and when I arrived he talked me through his day and told me all about his mentor, Kyle. Kyle sets his tasks each day, teaches him new skills and supports him on the job. I was then introduced to a familiar face … Kyle … an ex Bridging the Gap student who now works full time at the university and has been assigned as Lewis’s mentor! How amazing is that! Kyle was offered a paid apprenticeship last year and now the process has come full circle and he is taking on the role of student mentor. I really was quite overwhelmed by this. If ever there was a moment where I saw the real impact of our work, it was in that room! I really hope I get the opportunity to take Ofsted to MMU to see this!!! I am so proud of Kyle, not only for getting his job but also for showing Lewis what you can achieve if you put your mind to it… what a role model he is! Also, a huge thank you to MMU who have nurtured the home grown talent from our project. They have invested time and money into our students and are now reaping the rewards. Wow!

With that, I will hand over to Lewis for this week’s ‘Day in the Life’..

A day in the life of Lewis
IT Assistant, Manchester Metropolitan University

Hi, my name is Lewis and I am working in the IT department at Manchester Metropolitan University. This is where I use my ID badge to scan into the building. All buildings are secure and can only be accessed by certain staff..

One of my first jobs is to check the data centre. As you can see, it is a very secure building and each one of these keys has to be scanned out and it is logged who has been in and when – I am one of only a few people who has access. Even my job coach can’t get in here without me!

This is the main data centre which houses all the servers that power all the computers for the entire university!! When I enter I have to walk over a sticky blue sheet to make sure that no dust gets into this room. It also has to be kept at a constant temperature of 20 degrees..

Here I am checking that all the data is correct and everything is working correctly. If anything happens in this room, the whole IT section could go down for the whole university and that will be 60,000 students and staff that would be unable to work, so it is a very important job..

This is Kyle who also used to be on Bridging the Gap and now has a full time apprenticeship at MMU!! Kyle was leaving the Digit4ll pathway when I started and he is showing me the ropes and is supporting me on my first week. It’s really nice to know someone who has been where I am now, and it is amazing the amount of things that he is now able to do..

This is my desk for the next nine months. They have provided me with a laptop, computer, two monitors and I have ordered my safety shoes which I need when I am going around campus checking all the equipment..

I have set up my email signature and I have to make sure that all my emails are professional. This is a paper free office so everything is online!

Then I start work on all my tasks at the computer, including using software to check the temperature I was talking about earlier. I enter all my data checks onto Excel and I also check the cameras for the servers to make sure that everything is running smoothly. I can even look back and check if a fob has been taken – here I am on the camera from this morning when Kyle and I did our morning checks..

So this is me until July. I am really happy with my placement and I have been made to feel very welcome. I know that I will learn a lot whilst I am here, I feel like I already have and it’s only been a week!!

We also have our ‘Worker of the Week’ from MMU this week! It was awarded to Reece for all the hard work that he has put into his jobs and how hard he has worked on his communication skills. Well done, Reece!

Now I would like to tell you about another of our placement providers..

Greaves Gym is based in Hollinwood and we are now in our second year of accessing the gym as one of our placements.

We first accessed Greaves Gym in September of last year, after one of our students, Dylan, went to it in his spare time. Dylan used the gym to build up his confidence and this was even more evident when he started his work placement there. Dylan was supported by Marvin Greaves who runs the gym. Marvin said,

Over time, the respect, confidence and discipline that using the gym instils transforms them, it’s all ‘Hello, Good Afternoon’ and I love that.

On speaking to Dylan, he explained to me what he did on his work placement and how he felt about attending. Dylan spoke very positively about Marvin Greaves and really enjoyed the time he spent on placement there..

I really liked it when I did my placement at Greaves with Marvin. I learned about what needed to be put away and cleaned and what was left out for next sessions, such as tidying the gloves, mats and the huge tyres away. I would leave out the weights and cardio equipment for people to use throughout the day.

I liked it because I got to train, Marvin set me up a circuit and routine to stick to whilst training. My circuit was pretty intense and gave me a good insight into training and helped me on my journey of wanting to be a personal trainer..

I also did some work on the reception desk which was signing people in and out and taking money for the gym sessions..

Greaves Gym made a positive impact on Dylan and provided him a stepping stone to then go on to his next gym placement and continue on his journey of becoming a personal trainer.

We now have another student starting to attend the gym on a work experience placement and we will continue to work alongside the staff in the gym to get the best results from the students who attend. We are very grateful to Marvin for all the support and encouragement he gives our students.

Now for some very exciting news from our Digit4ll pathway – over to Mr Handrick..

What has bubble wrap, reindeer food and a website all in common?

The Digit4ll Key Stage 5 Pathway!

The team have worked so hard again this week that the staff cannot praise them enough. We have had a team on reindeer food prep for the Christmas Markets next week, film editing and, of course, bag printing..

It’s hard to say thanks to all our students who just ‘GET ON WITH IT!’ but I need to give a special mention to our director and birthday boy this week, Jordan, who has worked tirelessly on making the website with the help of others.

Yes, that’s right, our very professional looking New Bridge Enterprise website is now live ~ click the link here to see for yourselves, you won’t be disappointed!!

WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!! #wavethebag

Please do check out their new website and if you are in Manchester on Wednesday 5th December, make sure you go along to the Christmas Markets in Piccadilly Gardens between 10.30am and 2pm to visit their stall!

We are arranging visits over the next few weeks for students to visit our Bridging the Gap (BtG) sites at the Royal Oldham Hospital and Manchester Metropolitan University. You will have received a letter if your child has shown an interest in this course. This is just an initial visit and is not a commitment to moving onto BtG next year. We will have a parents evening about BtG in the new year so that you can also come in and find out more information about the project.

I’d like to finish this week with a bit of a plea.. we would like to set up a parent employer network where parents and representatives from business meet termly to discuss how we can extend our range of work experience placements and employer encounters. This could be co-ordinating visits to your place of work or arranging work experience placements for students within our Group. We are looking for parents to join this forum who are employed in ANY sector. If you are interested, please contact our work placement co-ordinator Maria for further information – her email is mstatham@newbridgegroup.org or you can call her on 0161 883 2403.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Daniel
Head of Key Stage 5 Pathways

You can view our previous blog entries here

Click here for this week’s news from Graham