Work-Based Learning at The Astley Cooper School. Building a Bridge to Employment

Work-Based Learning is a unique, innovative programme piloted by The Astley Cooper School in Hemel Hempstead. It aims to bridge the gap between school and employment by providing long term, high-quality work experience. The one-year course is aimed at Post 16 students as an alternative to A-levels. Deputy Headteacher, Matt Stevens, said, ‘I was surprised to hear that local businesses found it difficult to attract young people. They also told us that too many young people lacked the basic skills required to be successful in the workplace’

How it Works

Students spend September in school in order to get ‘work-ready’. They then begin their work experience for three days a week. The remaining two days are spent in school studying towards BTEC qualifications in Life Skills, which employers demand and students will benefit from throughout their career.

Our Partnership with Osborne Property Services

One of our successful partnerships has been with Osborne Property Services, who placed two work-based learners. Hannah Bailey, Community Investment Manager at Osborne said, ‘With a skills shortage in the Industry, one of our key aims through our work in the local community is to encourage young people to consider a career in construction. We were therefore excited to be able to offer two very different placement opportunities.’ Connor joined the Repairs and Maintenance Team as a Multi-Trade Operative where he has been shadowing Electricians, Plumbers, Drainage Operatives and Supervisors. He has been putting his decorating skills into practice by painting a new section of the Osborne Training Facility. Visiting residents’ homes on a daily basis, he is also developing skills in customer service, communication and safeguarding. Hannah Bailey said, ‘We hope that the varied programme will help him decide which trade he would like to pursue as a career.

‘One of the best Decisions’

Connor added, ‘Taking this course was one of the best decisions I have made. I will have lots of relevant experience on my CV, making me more confident in applying for the right apprenticeship.’

Ashley was unsure of what he would like to do, so has been supporting a number of different office departments. To utilise his creative skills, he has been helping the Community Investment Manager to research, plan and deliver events with community partners. He has also been supporting Building Surveyor, Garry Davidson. Ashley said, ‘I can really see the difference this course has made, I had no idea about what I wanted to do. I had no experience and no confidence in my abilities. I love my placement; I’m meeting new people and learning new skills, I feel motivated and really look forward to going to work.’

‘Exceeded our Expectations’

Hannah Bailey said, ‘For Osborne, it has been great to watch the two boys develop; they have both exceeded our expectations. Supporting this programme has had an extremely positive impact on our own employees, who love the chance to mentor young people and pass on their skills and knowledge. We are extremely impressed with the attitude, behaviour and work ethic of Connor and Ashley. This programme is helping the young people of Dacorum.’

Can you support a student?

The school is looking to build on its success. Work-Based Learning compliments Corporate Social Responsibility and community engagement programmes for businesses. Everyone who is involved can see the incredible value it is adding.

If your business could support a student, or would like to know more about the course, please get in touch with Erica Hodges e.hodges@astleycooper.herts.sch.uk

Our Ambassadors