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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Autistic students take on business challenge to build skills for independent futures

Students at a school for young people with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum are embarking on an exciting project to run their own business initiative alongside their lessons. The goal of the school’s innovative scheme is to give students the business experience and social skills they will need to go on to lead independent lives when they leave LVS Oxford.

No 2 Things, a new upcycling enterprise created by a group of BTEC Business students at the school, held a successful trial launch at the school’s annual Celebration of Achievement at the end of last term. Now the business is to be taken on and grown by a new group of students who are starting their business studies this month. The enterprise was created as part of the students’ BTEC qualification, which last year’s cohort all successfully passed in the summer.

No 2 Things’ initial product collection included items such as cassette tape pen holders, decorated bottles and jars, and homemade bath bombs. The enterprise proved a big hit with guests at the launch event, and the students were delighted with the sales they made. In addition, the sample domino clock they had on display proved very popular, with 6 pre-orders being placed on the day.

Future plans include workshop facilities to enable No 2 Things to embark on bigger upcycling projects this term, meaning the students will be able to offer a wider range of products, including upcycled furniture and produce made from fruit and vegetables grown at the school.

Learner Craig Harris who has been involved right from the start says, “I feel that being part of the No 2 Things enterprise project has helped me become more confident when it comes to working as part of a team and dealing with customers. I’ve enjoyed having an active role in the company. It’s been a big hit.”

You can watch Craig and fellow LVS Oxford student Morgan Callaghan demonstrate the business initiative and discuss the benefits they are getting from it here

Head of School Louisa Allison-Bergin said: “The enterprise has given our students the opportunity to run something on their own, develop their teamwork skills, and learn about their strengths and weaknesses. This has boosted their confidence, taught them new skills and given them a good insight into running a business. They’ll be able use the knowledge and experience they’ve gained as they move on to further studies, work placements and, when they finish their education, out in the world of work.”

This term a number of new students will embark on the BTEC business course. This will bring a new skill set to the enterprise, giving No 2 Things the opportunity to expand the range of products on offer. The students hope to start upcycling larger items such as tables and chairs and they’ll be able to take orders for these and personalise them as specified by the customers.

For families of children with autism who want to find out more about how LVS Oxford can help achieve academic success, the school’s next open day is on Wednesday 8th November. More information can be found on LVS Oxford's website

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