25 Oct

Well, it’s been a VERY exciting week for us here as you may have read in my early blog about our new venture with The Guinness Partnership..

I am writing before my usual blogs this week to share some really exciting news! As you may know, we have been running The Atrium Café at First Choice Homes Oldham for three years now. The Atrium is run by our staff and students and provides a catering service to First Choice Homes staff. A number of months ago, an opportunity came up to replicate this model at another major housing association in Oldham, The Guinness Partnership, which is based in Hollinwood, very close to New Bridge School and Hollinwood Academy. The building is much larger than the First Choice Homes building and houses nearly 800 staff!

Over the summer, I put together a proposal to take over the catering contract for Guinness, replicating the student-led model that we have in place with First Choice Homes Oldham. I am pleased to inform you that a couple of weeks ago we found out that our application was successful and we take over the catering contract at Guinness next month! The café at Guinness is also having a major refurb and will open officially in December.

This contract will once again open up so many doors for our young people and launches the start of a new partnership with a major Oldham employer. Our young people will have the opportunity to train on the job and to build skills around catering, hospitality and customer service! On a daily basis, they will organise a trolley run around the building, re-stock fridges and vending machines and also prepare and serve food supported by a dedicated team of job coaches. Guinness are also keen to work with our Group to provide further work placements across their business and potentially apprenticeship opportunities in the future. As with The Atrium, we will continue to use local suppliers to provide a service that supports businesses within our area.

Whilst this opportunity will be open to students from across our schools via our usual work placement referral scheme, we will be focusing initially on placing more young adults from New Bridge Horizons at The Guinness Partnership to build upon the excellent work that we have started through our new ‘TeamM8s’ scheme.

I will, of course, keep you up to speed with our progress via my Future Finders blog and my Key Stage 5 Pathways blog and I look forward to sending our first young people on placement at The Guinness Partnership after half term!

Speaking of partnerships, our work placement co-ordinator Maria has this week met with Tameside Radio and I am delighted to tell you that we will be offering placements here after half term! Another brilliant opportunity for our students.

Now over to Anne-Marie for a look back on our first half term..

It is has been one busy half term this Autumn and one of the key words has been NEW!! NEW floor, NEW classroom, NEW young people, NEW parents, NEW staff, NEW technology, NEW routine, NEW placements, NEW employers and NEW opportunities!!!

It has been a fast paced term, with things changing quickly to meet the needs of the young people and their families, ensuring they get the very best from Future Finders.

Starting with the NEW classroom – over the Summer, Future Finders moved back to the first floor of Medtia where we have our NEW Employability classroom. We have spent this term settling in, putting up our information displays and just generally making sure the space works for us. We have also been lucky enough to have a NEW iPads for each student which is just amazing!!! They are enabling us to be more interactive in our learning and creating e-portfolios!  

Job Coaches have been in touch with our young people’s parents, keeping them updated on what they have been up to – there has been a letter sent home today, inviting you all in to our parents’ evening on Tuesday 19th November between 4pm – 6pm, where we can further discuss the young people’s progress and plan for their future aspirations.

We have been very lucky over the last few years to build up positive working relationships with employers across Oldham and surrounding areas and it has been great to see NEW employers getting involved in providing more and more opportunities for our young people. We have begun working with Alfie’s Attic (Lees),  The Guinness Partnership, Old Toll House Café (Dobcross) and dsgnuk.

Our young people continue to impress whilst out on placements!! 2 of our Future Finders are based down at Manchester Metropolitan University – here is a brief update on what they have been up to this half term from their job coach…over to you Genna!

  • Luka has been given a lot of new tasks to complete in the kitchen! He is responsible for a lot of food preparation in the day and makes the pizza and preps the croissants and pastries for the morning, he also helps the chef with the cooking and is getting quicker by the day!!
  • Dominic is on his last day of placement with the facilities team! He has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the team and is looking forward to moving to work on a one-to-one basis where he will be learning how to paint and fix equipment around the university!

We have received some excellent feedback from our host employers:

  • Matthew has been based at the Clean Plate Kitchen this half term. He has done an amazing job and has settled in so well….and just in case you didn’t see it on Facebook, here is what his employer has to say..

“We would just like to give a shout out to Matty who has been our top waiter this week. In the space of a few weeks he has grown in confidence and not only is he acing the knife and fork wrapping, coffee grinding, table clearing and pot washing, he has now pushed himself out of his comfort zone and is taking the food orders out. If you come in and meet Matty please give him a big smile and a little patience, we all have to start somewhere and we think Matty is a great lad and he’s off to a flying start. As we were so busy today he took it upon himself to stay an extra half an hour to help us catch up with the pots, what a guy.”

  • Lewis has been working down at New Bridge School, supporting Mrs Grogan in the ICT lessons. Here is what the staff had to say..

“…….to let you know how impressed I’ve been with Lewis in his role as a Teaching Assistant. I was covering ICT lessons on Monday and in every lesson he showed great initiative:

– he would support individuals without instruction from me
– he would never touch a pupil’s iPad, instead pointing to the icons on screen to get the pupils to do it themselves
– he would roam the classroom recognising when pupils needed support
– he would come to me and check if I wanted him to work with anyone……..

Just wanted you all to know. Very proud.”

  • Reece has settled in well at our new IT placement at dsgnuk working on websites and finding solutions to any issues. Amazing work Reece!
  • Jason has been working at the Old Toll House Café where he has come on so much in his skills within food preparation:

“Not sure we could have done it without him today! He has done an amazing job”

  • Joshua, Fahad and Liam have been working at Oldham Library:

“Great to see that our New Bridge Future Finders Employability College Students team continue to thrive and learn. It’s a real pleasure working with you all”

          Joshua has excelled in his independence skills, working on travelling independently to and from work! It has been amazing to see the                  confidence grow! Well done Joshua!

What a great start to our year – well done to all our current Future Finders!!! We look forward to what the next half term will bring!!!

Remember we are back on the 4th November 2019 at 9am! Have a great week, rest up and see you soon.

Congratulations to both Lewis and Josh whose hard work was recognised with this week’s ‘Worker of the Week’ awards..

Have a wonderful half term. We look forward to welcoming you back after a good rest, a week on Monday.

Daniel
Head of College

Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can view our previous blog entries here