The Enterprise Academy at Parkhill Secondary School was formally opened to pupils in August 2017.
It is a vibrant initiative that supports young people with Additional Support Needs into positive and sustained destinations.
This is part of Parkhill Secondary School but is also available to pupils across Glasgow schools. Courses focus on vocational areas where there are opportunities for young people with Additional Support Needs to gain employment. At Parkhill they focus on the individual needs of every young person. The Enterprise Academy allows them to build on the interest and aspirations of the young people by helping them to develop new skills for work and future career choices.
Several rooms in the school were transformed as part of the development. These are, professional kitchen, café area, hotel bedroom and office training room. A boot room was also added to the already established horticulture area. These areas allow the school to offer realistic work environments where young people can develop skills for learning, life and work.
The Enterprise Academy works in partnership with colleges (Glasgow Kelvin and City of Glasgow) and has business partnerships, it 7 courses at present focusing on 3 key areas of Hospitality; Horticulture and Administration, this is a range of the courses available:
Introduction to Hotel Skills
NPA Professional Cookery Level 3
Culinary Ability (only centre in Scotland delivering this)
National 5 Practical Cookery
SVQ Level 1 Horticulture
NPA Level 4 Horticulture
NPA Administrative Activities.
These courses are delivered by college lecturers and teachers which offer the young people realistic vocational pathways into careers where there are opportunities open to them. The courses have been selected to reflect the interest and needs of young people working at SCQF levels 3 and 4/5.
One of the key successes of the Enterprise Academy is that it offers young people a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn, thus offering a bridge between school and college.
The school has worked closely with business partners Milnbank Housing Association, Hilton Glasgow and Radisson Red to develop a robust programme of exciting and innovative activities aimed at enhancing the employability of all pupils involved with the school and Enterprise Academy. This has included industry visits and supporting young people with activities in the school. They hosted a Business Breakfast in the school to help promote the Enterprise Academy and the pupils presented at this to inform them of future ideas along with showcasing skills that they have developed.
Furthermore the established work placements are incorporated into their timetable and are working very well. These have mainly been in the hotel kitchen and have proven to be very beneficial to the development of their skillset. Work placements are also supported by an ENABLE Employment co-ordinator.
The school undertook a project to examine how the work of the Enterprise Academy and the school’s partnerships reflect the Career Education Standards. The Enterprise Academy has also been a focus for an international ERASMUS + exchange programme which started in May 2017. The programme focuses on the hospitality and hotel skills classes. 6 Young people along with 2 teachers visit Nuremberg in Germany with a reciprocal visit to Glasgow allowing the young people to develop their skills in this area. They have secured funding for another 2 years and are in process of planning the next exchange which is extremely exciting for the school, this has worked very well and they look forward to being part of this international project again.
Parkhill Secondary School is a school for young people with Additional Support Needs and therefore Inclusion is always a key focus of the school. All of the young people who attend the school have some form of barrier to learning, many are on the Autism Spectrum whilst others have global learning difficulties. The Enterprise Academy gives the young people a structured and supportive framework to be able to access vocational opportunities and therefore positive and sustained destinations. One of the central aims of the Enterprise Academy is to ensure that all young people are given the best chance to enter employment and to develop their skills.
A very high number of the young people come from SIMD 1-4 backgrounds and have Free Meal Entitlement and therefore the school and the Enterprise Academy are acutely aware of the need to ensure parents and carers are not asked to supplement their son/daughter’s education and cover all costs through other funding.
Every young person who starts at the Enterprise Academy is given an induction where the expected behaviour in the school building is explained to them. This helps to address issues such diversity and equality, especially as many of the young people in the school can be very vulnerable.
The Monitoring Impact group is monitoring the impact both on leavers destinations which has been reviewed and is now looking at individual targets for each pupil. They provide data regarding destinations of leavers and it has been recorded through Career Interviews that more young people are identifying potential career paths in line with the key areas. Furthermore, in S1-3 young people have shown much greater interest in the 3 key areas of Academy.
The Enterprise Academy has helped raise the profile of the school through features on websites, media and is active on social media. This in turn has had a huge effect on the confidence of the young people.
The school have been encouraging parents to get involved in many ways and they have shown a keen interest throughout the establishment its development including being on a Steering group and have been invited to take part in a number of events. Parents have also attended visits to Hilton and Radisson Red to help raise their understanding of the kinds of vocational opportunities their young people may be able to access in the future, they also have a pilot programme with Hi (Hub International) which will deliver workshops to parents.
The school staff members have had CPD opportunities to be up-skilled in Horticulture and attended “Buddy Days” in the Hilton Hotel. These have been invaluable as they now have knowledge and skills which enable them to support and assist in the delivery of lessons. Also, by ensuring that the business partners have been involved in the process of the establishment and continuous development of the Academy, this has fostered a real feeling of ownership for the project and an understanding of the aims. This has also given a great sense of achievement to all involved.