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Monday, February 18, 2019

Careers Week Sparks Future Ambitions For Autistic Students At LVS Oxford

LVS Oxford hosted a successful Careers Week from Monday 11th to Friday 15th February, giving students of all ages the opportunity to learn about possible careers and spend some valuable time thinking about what direction they would like to move in in the future.

The engaging and exciting week gave all students at the school, for young people aged 11 to 18 and on the autism spectrum, access to a range of visitors who came in to the school to reveal more about future paths to employment and what various jobs entail.

Visitors on Thursday included Bicester-based Ignite Sport who came in to demonstrate their apprenticeship scheme, whereby LVS Oxford students could go on to represent them in providing sports coaching programmes for young people, and lead example sessions in LVS Oxford’s beautiful grounds. General Manager Hannah Bladen said: “It was a great chance for LVS Oxford’s students to see us in action, have a taste of the job and make an informed decision about their career choice. We hope some of them will be inspired to come back and talk to us about career opportunities”.

This was followed by several talks by Anna McInnes, General Manager at Jury’s Inn Oxford, about life working for the hotel group, followed by interactive sessions where students could practice what they could expect from a job in the hospitality industry – including how to serve at conference and banqueting events. Anna said: “The students were really engaged in the activities and were very good at learning what to do. Importantly, the skills they learned today are not just useful for potential careers but also for general life too”.

On Tuesday 12th February, year 10 students travelled to SOFEA, based in Didcot, to participate in voluntary work, which involved them working as a team to sort food deliveries arriving in the warehouse. During the day, they learnt how this social enterprise provides high quality food to organisations feeding vulnerable or disadvantaged people, whilst at the same time providing employment and work experience opportunities for young people so they can develop skills and help prepare them for future employment opportunities.

On Wednesday, Head of Sixth Form and qualified plumber Sam Hewson led a trade skills session to introduce students to the basics of plumbing and electrics, both giving them the chance to practice their motor skills.

The careers theme continued with sessions with Adviza, which provided key information and tips on gaining employment, focussing on social and employability skills to build self-confidence and resilience. This was supplemented by an internal interview skills session to prepare the students for what to expect at a job interview, including the type of questions they can prepare for in advance to help the interview go smoothly.

Students showed great interest and excitement in the range of enlightening sessions available to them, which complement an already extensive programme of lessons and opportunities the school makes available all year round to help boost students’ future prospects. These include studying for a Business BTEC qualification and taking on work experience during sixth form.

With just 16% of UK autistic adults in full-time work, LVS Oxford’s focus on employability skills is essential in helping to improve that statistic. Head of School Louisa Allison-Bergin said: “One of LVS Oxford’s goals is to develop the prospects of students with autism so they can go on to further education and ultimately careers that allow them to live independent futures. Our excellent links to the local community, and ongoing partnership with oxLEP skills, have been seen to great effect this week, with such varied examples of options and support available to them to ensure they can go on to be successful”.

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