Employability service creates mock work environments

A specialist employability service in Doncaster has developed simulated work environments to give people hoping to get into work hands-on, practical job experience.

Aspire to Be, which is managed by Doncaster Deaf Trust and helps adults with learning disabilities and other difficulties gain life skills and employment, has enhanced its provision with the addition of four new mock areas – a warehouse, a shop, a café and a soon-to-be completed catering section.

The service, which already has a ‘working’ hotel room on its site on Leger Way, has joined forces with local businesses to make the areas as real-to-life as possible and to ensure they include all the equipment an employee working in these sectors would need.

The five work environments are to be used by Aspire to Be staff to work with service users to breakdown certain tasks within a job role and explain in detail the different elements involved.

Tina Rafferty, programme manager at Aspire to Be, said: “A vital part of what we do here is to enable our service users to learn about the world of work and ensure that anyone who’s capable of working can.

“We are very unique because our service is not attached to a specific qualification so we want to capture those who may not be able to cope in an educational setting but are still able and willing to work.

“They have something to offer but just need to be taught skills and gain experience in a different, more tailored way to suit their needs and these new areas are really going to help us support them more effectively.

“Linking up with businesses in the area such as Premier Inn has allowed us to develop our mock hotel room which has gone really well and now we have been able to expand by opening up a retail shop, warehouse and café.

“We are still working on our bespoke catering area which will have a sink and food preparation bench, so when that is complete, we will have a total of five areas for those who use our service to access opening up more job opportunities to them.”

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