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School workers switch jobs to help pupils

Two caring school workers have rolled up their sleeves and headed out on the employment trail in a bid to sign up companies willing to offer work experience to pupils with special needs.

Amanda Metcalf and Jackie McGarry, from Catcote Academy, undertook shifts at a number of businesses across the town to ascertain whether their children would be able to withstand the rigours of various employment roles.

The pair spent Sunday in McDonald's, working with the 8am-4pm shift on everything from food preparation to cleaning and counter skills.

Catcote Sixth Form Lead Amanda said: "We have some really great young adults here and all they need is an opportunity to shine.  They may have certain needs but they are very capable of doing a good job and we would love people to give them a chance.

"Jackie and I decided to go in and check out the jobs for ourselves so we could best match the pupils with the opportunites.

"McDonald's was a really interesting shift, it was hard work and quite fast-paced but certain aspects would suit some of our young people who will now visit McDonald's for a taster day with a view to beginning a work placement for one day per week in September for the academic year as part of their personalised post-16 study programme.

"A job coach woould also accompany young people from Catcote Academy who access a work experience placement in a local business ensuring they would receive assistance as and when it was required."

Following on from McDonald's, Jackie and Amanda also spent time at Ashbank Laundry and will be undertaking further shifts at J&B Recycling, Hartfields Retirement Village, The Grand Hotel and Mecca Bingo.

Amanda continued: "Catcote Sixth Form has implemented a new study programme over the last two years for its post-16 learners, which concentrates on independent living skills and employability skills.

"The students have really enjoyed the new curriculum and have thrived in the work-based learning areas within Catcote Academy as well with local employers."

"We realise the unknown may be a bit daunting to them but they get a lot out of helping our students too and with a job coach there to look after them it won't be anything time-consuming for the employer."

Anyone who feels they may be able to offer a student some work experience is asked to contact Amanda for further information on or call (01429) 264036.