Published Thursday 30 April 2015 at 14:26
Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn College have linked up on a project to provide practical work experience for students with additional and learning support needs.
The ‘Get Set’ programme has helped provide internships for students at the Council through re:fresh public health programmes and is designed to give them independence and practical work skills.
Two young people who have enjoyed successful placements within the Council so far are Dean Clark, 19, and Asad Khakiq, 21, both from Blackburn.
Dean has been working on the allotments at Teak Street whilst Asad has been placed with the Council’s Healthy Lifestyles Team where he has been helping people with serious conditions like diabetes and stroke.
I love working outside on practical jobs, so I’m over the moon with the chance I’ve been given. I’d like to be a grounds man, so learning about all the plants, vegetables and fruit in the allotment will stand me in good stead.
I’m glad to be given an opportunity away from College to be able to prove myself as a hard worker, to be reliable and enthusiastic about work. My job goal is to gain paid employment working outside on the land, so my time on the allotments with a good reference can only help me with making my dream come true.
To get this opportunity was the best chance ever and I’m so grateful for it. The hands-on practical approach has been second-to-none. I have hugely improved my communication skills and have grown-up such a lot compared to this time last year. I would like to continue to work and learn and if the chance of an apprenticeship comes up, I’d grab it with both hands. I’m proud to be involved in community health and wellbeing.
Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
I’m pleased we have been able to work with the College on this important project and delighted that we have been able to provide opportunities to young people like Dean and Asad. I’m sure they will greatly benefit from the experience of working across the community and learning important practical skills that will stand them in good stead for building successful future careers in whatever they choose to do.
Jo Dexter, Programme Manager at Blackburn College, said:
Get Set is going from strength-to-strength due to the demand here at the college and we intend to grow our provision year-on-year. The difference the programme makes to our young people’s futures is astounding and its success is enabled by our outstanding staff team. Having supportive employers such as the Council and, in particular, re-fresh is also vital.