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ROC and Torbay

Project lead

The project lead for the Getting a Life project in Torbay was Sean Westlake, Head of Skills Training and Employment at Robert Owen Communities.  After March 2011, please contact [email protected]

Bens Story

Ben is 17 years old and has a real passion and talent for graffiti art. He is currently working towards an art award at Mayfield school. Recently, he worked on a graffiti project in school with a professional graffiti artist, creating a masterpiece on the outside of the school for everyone to see.

Ben designed the graffiti and created stencils as part of the preparation for the piece.

By working with a professional graffiti artist on this project, and demonstrating his abilities, Ben will now doing work experience with the Graffiti Workshop Company, going into local primary schools, passing his skills on to others, and helping them to create their own graffiti artworks.

Ben has realised that he wants to explore graffiti art as a career, and this work experience will introduce him to possible employment opportunities. Ben’s confidence has shot up because of what he’s achieved and the opportunities that he has created for the future.

Everyone at Mayfields School is very proud of what he has achieved and they say: “the Graffiti looks fantastic!”

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Chris' Story

chris at workChris is a learning-disabled young man aged 18 who is in his last year in the sixth form at a mainstream secondary school community college.  He is preparing to leave school next year and wants to get a job.
Before getting involved in the Getting a Life programme in 2009, Chris and his family were involved in the Family Led Jobs project in Torbay.  As part of this project, Chris and his family worked with his school, King Edward VI Community College, and a local supported employment provider, Pluss, and others to develop a Discovery Profile.  The profile helped everyone think about what Chris could do and the things that were important to him.  Using the profile, they created a plan for Chris to move from school into work.

Over the summer of 2008, Chris began to work with Pluss Supported Employment and Training services.  Usually, supported employment agencies work with older people who have already left school or college, but they changed the way they worked so that they could help Chris.  Instead of going back to college full time in September 2008, he went to college for four days every week and used the other day to do work experience.  Using Chris’ funding for one-to-one support, the college arranged for Graham, his Learning Support Assistant from college, to go with him.

chris at workAfter working at Care Trust in an office environment, Chris moved on to experience working in retail, through a work experience placement at the Co-op.  Whilst working at the Co-op, he gradually built up his hours from a half day to a full day.  Chris really enjoys working at the shop and looks forward to wearing smart clothes to go there, which he doesn’t have to do at college.  Graham is on hand to help Chris communicate with the rest of the team, but most of the time Chris now works independently around the store.  Chris’s manager, Dee, says, “Chris is part of the team – he’s very enthusiastic and always hard working”.
September 2009 was the start of Chris’ last year of college.  When college started again in September this year, Chris only went back for three days a week.  In the other days, he will be developing his professional skills and getting experiences in different work settings.  His support team at home, college, and PLUSS are helping him.
Now Chris is 18, he is getting an individual budget. His mum is now thinking about the best way to use it to support him.  This might include spending it on personal job coaching to support him into paid work once he leaves school in June 2010.

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Update to Chris' Story (November 2010)

Chris is now 19 and finished his secondary education at King Edward VI Community College in July 2010, a mainstream secondary school in Totnes, Devon.

In August, Chris started part time paid work at the Rainbow Chris at workInternational Hotel in Torquay as a Catering Assistant, following a work experience placement there. So far, Chris has worked in the restaurant and in the kitchen, and he is looking to try out other roles in the hotel as well.

Chris’ employment support team, which consists of his family, family friends, his previous school Teaching Assistants and PLUSS job coaches and employment consultancy staff, are continuing to work together to support Chris into full time paid work as soon as possible.

Chris’s job coaching and support is currently funded by PLUSS and by Chris’s direct payments. The team are investigating other sources of funding for job coaching, including Access to Work and Work Choice, to support Chris in increasing the number of hours he works.

In addition to his paid role, Chris started a part time work experience placement at Waitrose in Torquay, building on the retail skills he developed on work experience at the Co-op. Chris and his employment support team hope that this will also result in paid work.

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