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Outstanding Careers Fair and Quality in Careers Standard Award for Woodlands Meed

Woodlands Meed have recently been awarded the prestigious ‘Quality in Careers Standard’ Award

Mims Davis joined the Meeds Job Club team, Careers Governors, Students and Head Teacher, Adam Rowland recently to celebrate Woodlands Meed School and College having successfully completed and achieved the Quality in Careers Standard. Mims unveiled the new plaque that will be proudly displayed at the College. She said of the achievement - ‘Through Investor in Careers Woodlands Meed are now full holders of the award for the next three years! Following a rigorous and detailed assessment process through Investors in Careers, Woodlands Meed School and College has been accredited as “Fully meeting all the accreditation criteria, incorporating the Gatsby Benchmarks and are now full holders of the award for the next three years. This is an amazing achievement and I congratulate you all on all for your hard work and commitment to improving the employment outcomes for not just your own students but all those locally with SEN’

Nola Bennett Deputy Head Teacher and Careers Lead at Woodlands Meed said, ‘Only 558 English secondary schools and colleges hold the award - so it makes it particularly special that the work, enthusiasm and commitment the Meeds Job Club have put into this has been acknowledged.’

The Meeds Job Club at Woodlands Meed works to make connections with employers to help support both students and employers to work together. Drawing on expertise from local support agencies like the Coast to Capitol SEND Careers Hub along with feedback from working parties including parents, carers, current and alumni students.

Courtney has been an integral part of the MJC Student Voice Steering Group, giving her feedback and opinion on the plans the MJC has, from a student perspective. Courtney enjoyed an experience of the workplace at local Vineyard Ridgeview picking grapes and learning how wine is made. She also volunteers as one of our college librarians.

Tyler took part in a group Computing work experience with Chambers and Partners and impressed them so much he is now doing a one day placement as a Junior Tester for them, working remotely from the MJC office. Ex Woodlands Meed student Elliot, who works for Chambers and Partners full time since leaving WM, has been acting as a mentor.

Annabelle has completed work experience as a classroom assistant at the WM school site and is now doing an external placement with Little Explorers Nursery in Burgess Hill. Annabelle is also a valued member of the MJC Student Voice Steering Group.

All three played a vital role in us achieving the Quality in Careers award. They were asked lots of questions by the assessor and were brilliant and giving examples of how the Woodlands Meed Careers Programme delivered by the MJC has supported them to raise their aspirations and experience the world of work. They all also attended the Careers and Transition Fair earlier this year.

Careers and Transition Fair welcomes over 250 young people with SEND

The recent Careers and Transition Fair in partnership with Coast to Capitol SEND Careers Hub, held earlier this year, is another example of how Woodlands Meed are supporting their pupils and local young people with SEND to engage with the employers. Over 250 pupils attended from across the SEND Careers Hub.

The event brought together local employers, day services, transitional services and further education settings with a passion for recognising the potential of people with SEND in the world of work and the value of giving young people an opportunity to make a valued contribution to society.

Woodlands Meed is a generic special needs school and college in West Sussex. The students have a very broad range of special needs and disabilities. Many of the students find new and unfamiliar environments and people challenging and the SEND Careers and Transition Fair helped provide a highly supportive space to experience meaningful encounters with employers and transitional organisations to engage and inspire.

The feedback from those who attended described the event as a great success and incredibly valuable in giving young people a chance to gain a detailed insight into work possibilities and of the future opportunities available. The businesses who attended felt it also provided local employers with an insight into working with young people with SEND. One exhibitor commented, ‘the students were great and many were very curious, it was great to be able to inspire young minds’

The students also provided positive feedback ‘it was good, and I got to see how many different options there were for me’

Coast to Capital Careers Hub brings together schools, colleges, employers, and apprenticeship providers across East Surrey, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove. The goal is to make it easier for schools and colleges to improve how they prepare all young people for their next steps. We drive progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks by enabling schools and colleges and their Careers Leaders to access training and support and to collaborate in a focused way, bringing together best practice and local labour market insight.

Joe Smith, SEND Enterprise Co Ordinator said ‘We were thrilled to collaborate with Woodlands Meed for our SEND Careers Fair event. We also extended invitations to nine other schools and colleges in the region and got great initial feedback from staff and students on the event. With this success, we hope this can be an annual event and invite even more provisions to the next event. ‘

If you are a business and are interested in finding out more, we are currently in search of business volunteers to join us as Enterprise Advisors. This presents a fantastic opportunity to volunteer for an hour every month, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team in these provisions to assist them in creating pathways for their students either virtually or in person.

Giving pupils exposure to employers and workplaces allows them to meet role models and build aspirations and inspiration around future pathways, jobs and opportunities. For young people, engaging with employers and experiencing workplaces is key; never underestimate the positive influence you can have on young people.

For an informal chat to find out more, please contact our dedicated SEND Enterprise Coordinator, Joe Smith.

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