Students were given an opportunity to make plans for their futures last week as LVS Oxford hosted its first ever Careers Week. Providing qualifications, work experience and independence skills are some of the key areas of focus at the school, passionate to improve the statistic of only 16% of adults with autism being in full-time, paid employment. Through a series of activities held from Monday 5th to Friday 9th February students were able to gain a clearer idea of the options available to them beyond the school, and how to achieve their ambitions.
A combination of trips out and inspiring visitors provided a range of sessions to help students make plans for their futures. On Tuesday 6th February a number of LVS Oxford students were among the 2,000 visitors to MINI Plant Oxford in Cowley to meet employers such as Microsoft, Thames Valley Police and the BMW Group. With crowded spaces notoriously difficult for children with autism to manage due to the range of stimuli they have to deal with, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) event provided excellent practice for them both in social and career development.
Back at LVS Oxford, students gained useful tips from the visiting Adviza careers service, whilst the manager of Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, Iain Atkin, and the owners of the Gardiner Arms pub in Tackley gave presentations on the jobs available within their businesses and the skills students would need to develop to gain employment there. These were supplemented by CV building workshops, mock job applications and subsequent mock interviews to help students gain confidence for real situations in the future and learn how to conduct themselves in interviews.
Perhaps the biggest achievement of the week was amongst a group of students who enjoyed a construction workshop with Head of Sixth Form Sam Hewson. The group was fully engaged in the session as trained plumber Sam taught them basic techniques and gave them instructions to complete a project themselves through measuring, cutting and connecting pipework. This provided an overview of the career and give them the confidence that should they wish to follow it, they could do it successfully.
Louisa Allison-Bergin, Head of School at LVS Oxford, said: “We are committed to developing learners so they can live independently in the future, through building their confidence, providing academic qualifications and equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need for employment. Our first ever Careers Week was a big success in helping students focus on employment, supporting them to secure experience and knowledge and make the link between living, learning and earning. With access to a range of qualifications here including A-level, GCSEs and BTECs, this week’s guidance will be important in helping them make the right choices for their futures”.
Current research shows that only 15% of young people with an autism spectrum diagnosis are in sustained, full-time employment and we are passionate about changing that statistic.