The Inspiring Career Opportunity Award 2012 

STEPS/Barnardo’s South Somerset Initiative’ 
STEPS Centre 
Nominated by: Diane Trewick 
As a small KS4 Pupil Referral Unit, based in a relatively remote corner of Somerset, STEPS, who had worked successfully with Barnardo’s on a play project, developed a working partnership to enable the charity to deliver a Motor Project in the area. 
 
The need for such an initiative was identified when staff recognised there were no opportunities in the Chard area to gain a qualification in Motor Mechanics without travelling long distances and being accepted on to college sites. The two main areas of research were to ascertain the need for the project and also the location of the delivery. 
 
One of the Senior Leadership Team researched other local education providers in order to ensure there would be sufficient uptake of places to make the project financially viable. A second member of the Senior Leadership Team researched sites and was able to negotiate a space at a local engineering company free of charge. 
STEPS Centre
This project looked at enabling Barnardo’s to deliver their Revolutions Motor Project to the area. It was also important that the project enabled students who had been excluded or at risk of exclusion the opportunity to gain a Level One ABC qualification. Other aims included enhancing students’ chances of gaining college placements, work experience or apprenticeships and to nurture students’ personal, social and emotional development. 
 
The progress and success of the project was measured by monitoring student exam results, student destination data on leaving STEPS, students personal and social development and also by Barnardo’s monitoring individual outcomes for all young people attending Revolutions. 
 
Pupils participated in practical work and practical and academic assessments, team work, cooperative working, awareness of health and safety issues whilst they were also given opportunities for work experience. Barnardo’s have since used students writing about the project as publicity material. 
 
Diane Trewick is in no doubt that the project was a success, commenting: “Absolutely (the project fulfilled the need which was identified), it was very successful and continues to be. A vocational project was established for young people in South Somerset in an area that had little opportunity for motor mechanics training. (It gave) An opportunity for students to spend time with good adult role models, encouraging their personal, social and emotional development.” 
 
Three students gained a Level 1 ABC Motor Mechanics qualification. Of those three students one was from a traveller background who had started at STEPS with low levels of literacy. He achieved the qualification and has now been accepted on a Level 2 apprenticeship course at college. Another student could not cope with mainstream school and had missed huge chunks of schooling leaving them socially isolated for over a year. Helped by the project, they secured work experience at a local garage and were subsequently offered an apprenticeship. The third student also secured an apprenticeship on the basis of their qualification. All the students benefitted from the additional personal, social and emotional skills that have become an integral part of the project’s ethos. 
 
“STEPS has a very close relationship with Barnardo’s as a result of being instrumental in enabling the Revolutions Project to expand and extend to this part of the county. Three other educational establishments catering for vulnerable students have taken up places at the project,” said Diane. 
 
The project is set to carry on through the current academic year with students having already enrolled. Barnardo’s are also considering offering short courses in the future if they have the capacity. 
 
Diane added: “It has been great for raising awareness of the work Barnardo’s does in the south west. It has given a focus to a variety of schools on the charity of Barnardo’s. As students leave the course to continue further education, links are built with colleges.” 
 
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