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Through the Schools Partnership programme, we have been engaging with Thamesview Academy in Gravesend for the two past years. We’ve been working with the school and local employers to inspire students about careers in the construction and built environment industry and help them recognise their full potential.
When we first started working with the school, we were introduced to a group of six students affectionately titled the Swanscombe Six. All six students were feeling disconnected from mainstream education and were finding it difficult to remain in the classroom. The school had identified the group as being at significant risk of not making successful post-16 transitions.
Formal classroom learning is not the best fit for every student and after meeting with the students, we suggested that a practical community project might be the best way of engaging them in thinking about careers. We partnered with a local community venue in need of refurbishment, and made a plan of attack with the students! The six students thrived in a vocational learning environment and discovered a discipline for practical work that had been absent in the classroom. As well as covering a range of painting and decorating skills, the community project also gave room for the students to develop their teamwork and communication skills.
The refurbishment itself was very successful, with the work on the pavilion being completed to a high standard. The students were able to look upon the finished project with pride, knowing that it was their hard work and skill that had rejuvenated the tired space. By the end of the project all six students were able to recognise that they were capable of achieving more than they thought, that they had the potential to enjoy and benefit from a practical, hands-on, skilled profession.
As we now approach the end of the academic year, the Swanscombe Six are all looking forward to the next steps of their career journeys. Three students are progressing into a multi-trade course at North Kent College and one has a place to study Electrical Installation at MidKent College. The two other students are now approaching their last year at Thamesview School with a renewed interest in their studies and will be attending a CSCS card workshop and test day the Trust is running for a mixture of students in Ebbsfleet.
We’re incredibly proud of the Swanscombe Six and their determination to pursue successful industry careers. We’ll make sure to keep you updated with their progress!
Thank you to the Collyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust and The Lawson Trust for their support in working in North Kent.