In October 2015, Almond Vocational Limited received a group from Germany to complete a work experience placement and 20 hours of language training. The project was based on the funding of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) for “ESF-Integrationslinie Bund”
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The main objectives of this project were to be achieved through close cooperation of IN VIA Cologne, the job centers of Cologne, Bonn, Rhein-Erft, Rhein-Sieg and Euskirchen, the transnational partners from England, Sweden and Italy, companies in the region as well as the Chamber of Crafts in Cologne and the Chamber of Commerce in Cologne.
The common main aim of the project was gradual and sustainable integration of people with difficult access to the German labour market at the age of 18-27 years by:
• receiving education
• gaining practical work experience
• re-entering school with the aim of gaining higher qualifications and securing stable employment in the future
• improvement of key skills
• ability to intercultural cooperation
• improving the knowledge of foreign languages
• strengthening of the personality ( empowerment )
• promoting mobility
This was not the first time we teamed with our partners from Cologne, you can read about our previous ESF project here: Returning to Employment – IDUMO
OUR BRIEF FOR THIS MOBILITY WAS TO:
- arrange full board host family accommodation
- find suitable work experience placements
- organise a 20 hour English Language Course
- arrange airport transfer
- provide additional meet and greet service at Heathrow Airport
- further meet and great in Plymouth
- organise local transport for the group
- book cultural trips
- provide weekly social events
- monitor the student’s progress via 1:1 appointments
- liaise with the accompanying support worker on all subject matters
- provide assistance for the social worker
- arrange work placements visits for the accompanying support worker
- attend weekly group meetings
- provide effective 24/7 support and advice to all the participants
- complete all the necessary documentation
- award with a certificate upon completion
HOST FAMILY ACCOMMODATION
We took great care in finding the right accommodation for each students. Special dietry requirements, allergies, distance to work placement and personal preferences were all taken under consideration when making a decision. For this particular group, we arranged full board accommodation in single rooms. This meant that all of the participant’s meals, including packed lunch, were prepared by their host families. The Host Families met and greeted our students upon their arrival in Plymouth.
My relationship with the host family is very good. I have my own key for the front door, which shows they trust me. The home is very clean and my host father is a chef, so the food is perfect.
Ralf – about his host family in Plymouth
I like to spend time with my host mum- Shirley, we will definitely stay in touch after this experience. I think that says it all really.
Jennifer – about her host family in Plymouth
The house is very clean , I have my own little room and the furniture is well maintained. The food is delicious and healthy, I’m very happy with it. My favourite meal was Chilli Con Carne. The relationship between my host family and me is very good. They always involve me in their activities, they are really lovely.
Nancy – about her host family in Plymouth
ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSE – PREPARATION FOR WORK EXPERIENCE
For this particular project we were responsible for finding 10 work experience placements for unemployed individuals selected by the German partners . All the candidates completed preparatory English Language training and cultural training before arrival and took part in further 20 hours of English Language Training, whilst in Plymouth.
The English language training was very helpful. I learned more about formal and informal speech and I learned more about day to day things like shopping, job interviews etc. I feel more confident at speaking English now.
I think the language training was useful because now I know more about UK and England. I learned many new words.
I think the English lessons were very good, the training covered my needs so my English will be better when I start my work experience.
MOBILITY WORK EXPERIENCE
As a hosting organisation and a transnational partner, it was our responsibility to make sure we found the most suitable work experience placements for all the students. Our Work Experience Coordinator – Steven Ricketts was involved in interviewing all the candidates. The decisions were made based on the participant’s qualifications, experience, interest, capabilities and future plans. We have managed to secure good quality placements with reputable local companies for a number areas, including:
- office work
I am working in an office. My work consists of translating text, contacting potential retailers or bloggers who may want to review our products. At times I help with pick-packing, but only if there’s not much for me to do and they need a hand. I was even involved in creating the advertising poster. I feel integrated in the team. I can see that they are trying to get to know me better by asking questions. They are all really friendly and welcoming. These two months went by so fast, but I still feel like I have learned a lot in that small amount of time. I felt like I was a part of this big team. The weekly 1:1 meetings reassured me that Almond took good care of us. The events were also fun and exciting, I would definitely recommend Almond to others”
David T- about his work experience placement
David has settled in very well. He is very polite, hardworking has lots of abilities. His English is fantastic and he will be a great asset to the company. A great start!
About David T from his work placement supervisor
“I am definitely satisfied with my work placement. They told me they have never had an apprentice before so they weren’t used to it, but they tried to do their best to provide me with the best experience. I would, and as a matter of fact I already have recommended Almond to other people. I was very happy with my accommodation and work experience, and I’m quite upset that I have to leave soon.
Marvin-about his work experience placement
I liked my work placement and my accommodation. I would work for them again, I liked the people I worked with and the tasks met my expectations,, I think Almond is a good organisation. Thumbs up! My tasks were: hanging clothes, steaming clothes, sorting stock, working on shop floor with customers.
Judita- about her work experience placement
Judita has worked for us for the past few months and she was a great asset. She worked very hard at all tasks given to her. She works very well on her own and as a part of team. She will be missed so much
About Judita from her work experience supervisor
The last few days in work have been amazing! I did a lot of work and my English is improving, especially in the field of building and carpentry. Last week we built a kitchen and tiled the walls. We were also putting blocks together to build a wall outside for the winter garden and fixed up the windows. I had really nice colleagues and it was a lot of fun. They not only showed me the work they also taught me to do constructions. Time flew when we were busy. It was a great opportunity to get experience and you could count on Almond when you needed help.
Jennifer – about her work experience placement
Jennifer spent the last few weeks on site, supervised by our site manager. She has undertaken general site work, general maintenance and assisted with carpentry works. Jennifer is a confident young lady and has worked well with the tasks she has undertaken whilst maintaining health and safety guidelines. She is punctual and reliable in her approach and has been a good team member within the work force. We wish her all the best for the future and hope she enjoyed her time with us.
Jennifer’s letter of recommendation from her work placement provider
I was satisfied with all aspects of my stay. My job and work place were great, I recommended my friend in Germany to do the same after her A-levels.
Sascha – about his work experience placement
My work experience was great, I would definitely work there again. David was very friendly, it was a great experience for me. Almond chose the perfect work placement for me. I’m satisfied with their work and would recommend them to others, Thank you for the day trips!
Nancy – about her work experience placement
CULTURAL TRIPS & SOCIAL PROGRAM
We organised several cultural excursions and weekly social meetings for this group. We have visited places such as National Marine Aquarium, Eden Project and Exeter. The students also had a chance to take part in our weekly “Language Cafe” meetings which included a wide variety of activities for them to take part in.
All of the participants were rewarded with a certificate for completing their English Language Course and Work Experience program. We have received some very positive feedback from both students and employers, and were impressed how much these young people have managed to achieve in such short space of time. We wish them all the success and are in no doubt, that the future is looking bright fro them.