27 May

What a week – I have so much to celebrate, I really don’t know where to start! As you will know, here at Medtia Square we have 5 students on our Future Finders course, a supported internship where students are based on placement with an employer for a full academic year. The aim of the game is for students to gain paid employment or independent volunteering opportunities. This week, all our efforts and hard work have paid off and I am thrilled to report that our young people are now well on their way to a fulfilling and meaningful future beyond education.

I will start with Max, who this week was offered a paid 3 month trial as an assistant housekeeper at a country home in Huddersfield. Max has worked extremely hard over the past 12 months in developing his professional conduct and work skills. I am sure that he will become a valued member of staff. Max is still really interested in working within a leisure centre setting following on from three fantastic placements with Oldham Community Leisure so we are still exploring other opportunities for Max, but the fact that he has been offered this paid trial is a testament to his hard work these past 9 months with Future Finders. Here he is working at the leisure centre this week, where he has been trained to use the floor cleaning machines..

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Alice has also had an amazing few weeks at the Oldham Coliseum. Alice has been training to become a member of the volunteer team at the theatre, where she will work on a rota system to assist patrons to their seats and to perform general duties ‘front of house’. Alice has recently taken part in an ushering test where she was given a series of tickets and she had to escort a member of staff to the various seats. Needless to say, she passed with flying colours and will join the volunteering team officially after half term!

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The icing on the cake came earlier today when she proudly presented me with a programme from the Coliseum’s show. After flicking through, I was extremely proud to see Alice’s name in the back of the programme listed under ‘Admin Staff’. Like all of our students on Future Finders, Alice is valued as a member of staff and she has earned this reward IN PRINT! Well done, Alice!

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Adam and Sheroz continue to volunteer at Oldham Food Banks and this week they were in charge of sorting donated stock..

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Adam’s face was a picture when they found a tin of food over 2 years out of date!!

Finding out of date food

This formidable pair have also set up a collection service for our building and we have already filled a box of goodies to take to the Food Banks in the near future. Well done, guys!

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Finally, we come to Reece who has been a student at New Bridge for nearly ten years! After speaking to a number of staff who used to teach Reece in Year 7, it’s fair to say that back then he was, unfortunately, something of a pain in the neck. However, it is a very different story now – Reece has matured so much over the years, particularly over the past 9 months, and I have had the pleasure of watching him grow into an highly professional, courteous and caring adult who is extremely valued by his colleagues. Reece has been on placement at Hollinwood Academy since October last year and has been working within the primary department. Reece has already gone through one working interview; on that occasion he was unsuccessful and he was given a series of targets to achieve in order to gain employment in the future. I am pleased to report that after a further 3 months of skilling up and proving himself, on Wednesday Reece was offered a full time paid job as an apprentice teaching assistant at Hollinwood Academy! Words cannot describe how proud I am of Reece. I would like to share some of the feedback that we had from his working interview from the teaching staff who have worked with him, it really does say it all…

           ‘Reece has helped maintain the high standards of behaviour and expectation in the class through his understanding of the children and his caring manner and temperament.’

           ‘Reece has made tremendous progress since being placed with us and now feels like an important part of the staff team here.’

           ‘Reece has shown enthusiasm and a love for the work he does… it has been wonderful to see the positive and respectful relationships that Reece has developed with our children’.

Reece – well done, you deserve this job and we wish you every success in your new PAID job as a Teaching Assistant at Hollinwood Academy!

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And so, on to Horizons… firstly I would like to congratulate Hayley Boyle who has been appointed as our new Key Worker based at the Learning Centre. Hayley will be taking over from Jeanette who leaves us next month. Hayley, Jeanette and their group had a fantastic day out on Monday when they travelled up to Blackpool for the day. They had a wonderful time at Madame Tussauds as you might just notice in these fabulous photos….

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Gary’s group had another ‘Monday adventure’ this week when they visited Bury on the tram. They have lots more trips planned in the coming weeks, I was just disappointed that they didn’t return with any black pudding for us – maybe next time..

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Emma’s group this week have taken on a new project at New Bridge School – they have been enjoying their gardening sessions at Waterhead Park so much that they have decided to begin working on growing vegetables in the polytunnel at the main school site which has been underused for some time. They had a fantastic first session and we look forward to seeing what they do to the place! It certainly needed some TLC and this group are the perfect candidates for the job..

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Speaking of TLC, Jeff’s maintenance group are becoming a key part of our estates team and this week tackled the benches outside our building. After a thorough clean, we can all sit safely on the benches now without risk of chewing gum or muck on our clothes! Well done to you all, now can you please persuade Jeff to let me try one of the uniforms?

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Jeff’s group also enjoyed their usual visits in the community this week as you can see…

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Well, after all that excitement and good news I am off on my holidays tomorrow where I will be celebrating the continued successes of Medtia Square and our fabulous young people with a cocktail or two in the sunshine! I will be back with my blog in two weeks’ time and I would like to wish those of you who get one, a great half term!

Daniel Wood
Future Finders Manager

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