Well, this week I have been hobnobbing with Lords, Ladies and Mayors! On Wednesday I spent the day with Mr Quinn at Pendleton College where we attended the official launch of the Greater Manchester Careers Hub. Greater Manchester was recently selected to be one of 20 Careers Hubs across the UK. The purpose of the Careers Hub is to create a network of Careers Leaders that will work together to ensure that careers guidance and education is outstanding across our schools and colleges.
I was delighted to be invited to be one of only 3 Careers Leaders within Greater Manchester and the support, funding and guidance that comes with this accolade will have a lasting effect on our young people. For our Group, this means that we receive £32,000 this year to provide activities relating to employer encounters and engagement. So, over the coming year, we will be planning a number of activities including careers talks by employers, visits to companies within the area and lots of workshops and activity days. It is a really exciting time and will further enhance our already outstanding offer around work placements, internships and careers guidance.
The launch on Wednesday was attended by GM Mayor Andy Burnam, who also had lunch with Mr Quinn! Mr Burnam explained that he would like to introduce a free bus pass to all young people between the ages of 16 and 18 who live in Greater Manchester to encourage them to apply for jobs without the restrictions of travel costs. A brilliant scheme that we wholeheartedly support.
On Thursday I was in London for the Future Talent National Conference at The Royal Geographic Society. This really was an inspirational day that gave me lots of ideas and food for thought.
The day was once again around how we enable our students to be adequately prepared for the world of work and I particularly enjoyed a key note presentation by England World Cup winning rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward and reporter Alastair Campbell..
Clive was asked how he ensured that he got the best out of his team and how he achieved outstanding leadership. He came up with three principles:
- Relentless Learning – ‘Be a sponge not a rock’
- Teamwork – have great people around you that have drive, ambition and challenge
- Bring others in – in his 8 years as England rugby coach, he invited over 50 professionals in from other industries to look at his team and his coaching and to give their feedback!
On reflection, I think we do all of these things so well at New Bridge. We share our good work and take ideas from others. We bring others in to advise and guide us, we are constantly learning and improving and we have THE BEST TEAM of staff! who knows, there may be an England rugby coach amongst us…although it certainly isn’t me!
Now over to some of those staff with an update on our week, starting with our Bridging the Gap job coach, Alison, at the Royal Oldham Hospital..
We are in our third week of placements and the students are getting used to their new routines.
First thing in the morning, the students come to the classroom. They have time to chat (or not!) and then get themselves organised before they set off for work..
Sometimes this means putting on extra uniform like an apron, a hat or safety shoes and learning to tie shoe laces or apron strings..
..but everyone has to make sure they are wearing their ID badge..
The students are becoming more independent around the hospital and are making great progress on their placements. They are settling in to their jobs and learning to work with new colleagues and how to fit into new teams..
The students are working hard and getting used to working longer hours..
At lunch and break times, they have time for a chill before work starts again..
At the end of the day, the students hope there is time for a game of ‘Uno’ before we clock off!
One of the employers who provides work experience placements for our students is the David Lloyd Club, Manchester North. They can accommodate up to 4 of our students on the Pre-Internship programme and they are extremely supportive of our young people and always make sure they feel valued members of their staff team, as our job coach, Tisha explains..
Across all of their clubs, David Lloyd have over 180 swimming pools and offer more than 13,000 exercise classes every week. Their racquet facilities are unrivalled, with 1000 tennis courts and more than 400 badminton and squash courts. They also offer outstanding coaching programmes for children and adults every week – 25,000 children and adults learn to swim and 16,000 learn to play tennis in their clubs. They provide more than just amazing fitness facilities; they also have health and beauty spas, lounges with free Wi-Fi, creches, nurseries and specialist sports shops.
Our latest students to start placements with the club began by completing the compulsory Health and Safety induction course with the Health and Safety Manager, Brittany. The students were shown around the building, fire exits and assembly points were identified and all necessary on-site risk assessments were completed..
Dylan and Fahad have been maximising their cleaning skills, learning how to clean gym equipment. When on task, they have to remain focused and try to be independent whilst also learning what the equipment is used for in terms of health and well-being for David Lloyd customers..
Placements in the club are rotated by the students and job coaches and another area where students gain valuable experience in customer service is in the Food and Beverage department at the DLICIOUS Restaurant within David Lloyd..
This week, as the students and staff were on a lunch break, so were 2 swimming coaches who had an AED training mannequin. They asked if we were interested in completing a 2 hour AED defibrillator course. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and is able to treat them through defibrillation, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm. Luka expressed a huge interest and had a go during his lunch break!
We all recognised it is an important life skill to have and training has now been offered to all the students who volunteer within David Lloyd Clubs, North Manchester!
Georgina (restaurant supervisor), Julie (restaurant assistant), Kath (head chef back of house) and Megan (manager of Food and Beverage department and the DLICIOUS restaurant) have all been very helpful to our students during their placements. They have been welcoming, offering guidance, support and encouraging confidence in all our students in order to maximise their potential in gaining employability and valuable customer service skills. They give praise to our students and recognise their qualities, strengths and weaknesses in a fast-paced environment, whilst also teaching the importance of customer service skills and being a professional member of their team.
Our day begins by checking the restaurant to see if there are any plates from tables that need clearing away, then we go back of house to see if any cutlery needs polishing ready for the day and wrap knives, forks or spoons in napkins for customers who may order high protein food after their workout or spa treatment. Once this is completed, one student will work front of house with Georgina and Julie and the other student will work back of house seeing to the pot washing duties, ensuring back of house is clean and tidy and all plates used have been washed, polished, dried and put away ready for the next customers..
Customer Service is a huge part of the role front of house … we have to talk to customers by saying hello with a smile and ask if this is what the customer ordered by reading receipts. Once confirmed, we ask if they need anything else and then leave the customers to enjoy their meal. We wait ten minutes to ask if everything is ok with their meal to make sure they are enjoying it before we take their ticket number away and move on to the next customer. We try to remember to ask customers for feedback on their experience which they can document on the iPad provided that is kept front of the restaurant.
We always keep busy and do our best to work at a fast pace as it can be extremely busy, especially on a Tuesday. It is not easy but the advice and praise we get from the front of house staff and managers shows we are appreciated and it is a valuable learning experience for all.
On behalf of all of us at the New Bridge Group, we would like to thank the David Lloyd Clubs staff for giving us this opportunity to volunteer and feel appreciated – it means a lot to feel part of your team!
This week’s ‘Worker of the Week’ award goes to Jason for communicating with his co-workers and supporting other students on a brand new placement at the ‘Forget Me Not’ charity shop after he was nominated by Bethany Fletcher. Well done Jason!
To finish, I would like to say farewell and good luck to Mr Greenway who leaves us today to start a new role with Andy’s Man Club. As I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago, Mr Greenway has been with us for ten years and has had a tremendous impact on many of our young people’s lives. He has been an outstanding role model and teacher to our Activ8 group and we all wish him every success in his new role. Activ8 will now by lead by Mr Holban and the group will also now have weekly lessons with Mr Smith (Curriculum Lead for PE) and Mr Lawrence for their D of E session.
Mr Greenway has asked me to share this with you..
Today I bow out of New Bridge after an amazing 10 years of working here. New Bridge has played a huge part in me becoming who I am today and I wish every success to my colleagues and the young people. I am gutted to be leaving Activ8, the last 5 years of working within the pathway have been one of the best experiences of my life and I thank each and every young person who has been in Activ8 for their hard work and dedication which has made my job so easy..
I have always viewed working at New Bridge as a privilege and it is something I will be proud to carry with me for many years to come. It is a truly amazing place filled with extraordinary people, both young people and the staff who work so tirelessly for them. I will miss being a part of it.
Have a fantastic weekend,
Director of Employment & Co Head of Site at Medtia Square
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