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Well, this week has been a mixture of emotions for me, from celebrating our first paid job outcome of the year to telling our wonderful staff, students and families that I am leaving my current role as head of college.

But first with the new job news…

As you will be aware, around 18 months ago we started a new partnership with David Lloyd Leisure in Middleton. This is a permanent base for our pre-interns and in September, we set up a second base at their club in Cheadle. Well, earlier this term there was high demand from both clubs for one particular student who had excelled in her work placements at both clubs and both managers wanted her based with them! My response – she can come to the club that will give her a job! They certainly rose to the occasion and I am THRILLED to report that the lovely Josie in our pre-internship class has this week been offered a paid Saturday job at the Middleton club. I am so so proud of Josie. Josie tries her very best EVERY single day, she is a source of joy and motivation for us all daily. Josie, I know you are an avid reader of my blog, so I would like to say to you, and for everyone else reading, WELL DONE!!! We are so very proud of you! Good luck in your new job! When you get paid….I really like chocolate!!! Also a huge thank you to Josie’s job coaches, Colin and Tisha who have also worked incredibly hard to secure this work for her.

Another FANTASTIC bit of news this week is that our ever so talented Lumenus students spent the day on Wednesday at The Royal Exchange Theatre for a careers focused day to look at the different job roles available in the theatre! They had an amazing time and I am told that this is just the start of a blossoming partnership with the theatre, with work placements and performances in the pipeline in the not too distant future! Again, a huge thank you to Ms Wilson and Mrs Preston for making this work possible.

I haven’t finished yet – now my attention goes to our incredible Activ8 lead Mr Lawrence and a former student of ours, Jack, who last Friday presented at the North West Leaders Conference for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. Their presentation was focused on highlighting to DofE leaders across the region that the programme and awards are accessible for ALL students, regardless of need. I had the most incredible email from DofE to pass on their thanks to Mr Lawrence and Jack for their outstanding presentation, which was described as ‘from the heart’, ‘superb’ and ‘inspiring’. Jack has even been asked by another school to go and talk to their students! DofE has been part of the furniture for New Bridge students since we opened the main school and it really does provide life-changing experiences for our young people. So to Mr Lawrence, Mr Taylor and the rest of our DofE deliverers – thank you! I am sure on those cold damp nights in winter on the top of a mountain, you may question why you do what you do, but it is clear from this feedback and the constant feedback from our students and families that the work that you do is not only invaluable but is truly life changing! So on behalf of us all again… THANK YOU!

As I am writing this final blog, I am getting extremely emotional! I truly am inspired every day by our staff and students! How lucky are we!!??

So on to my own personal news….

As you may be aware, having worked for New Bridge for the past 13 years, I have focused most of that time developing our employability strategy. From setting up our Bridging the Gap programme 11 years ago to introducing our pre-internship pathway and opening up our Medtia Square campus and Future Finders Employability College, my passion has always been and will continue to be, to ensure that our students have the best opportunities to be work ready when they leave our schools. As our trust continues to grow, an opportunity recently became available to continue this work more strategically across all of the schools within the trust, and following a recent interview, I will be moving into a new role as Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the trust, with specific responsibility to develop the trust’s work around employability and destinations. In light of this, my last day as head of college here at Medtia will be Friday 29th November.

I am delighted to be able to inform you that our new head of college at Medtia will be Jaina Walton. Jaina has worked for the trust for 5 years and for the last 2 and half years has been head of school at Hollinwood Academy. Jaina is really looking forward to moving to Medtia to lead our outstanding provision. I am sure you will get chance to meet with Jaina in the near future.

Many thanks for your continued support. I should probably stop talking now and pass you over to our staff and students for this week’s updates, starting with Digit4ll..

A day in the life of Paddy
Digit4ll Key Stage 5 IT Pathway

Paddy joined us last year on the Digit4ll pathway and dipped in his toes in, so to speak. in the last few weeks before the summer break. He liked it that much that he signed on the dotted line for the full contract. Paddy likes to be involved in all aspects of what we do and is always willing to offer his help and learn.

Normally at this point I like to show you a image of our student in the spotlight arriving in for the day. This time Paddy was too quick for me and sneaked past before I had get chance to get the obligatory snapshot.

Paddy has taken an interest in the media side of the pathway. Paddy was asked to work alongside some other students to make a video around the good learning that takes place across the trust. As you can see in the image, it is not just visual that we have to edit, we also have to work with audio files.

We have a large order in from a construction company called ‘Black Cat’ based in Manchester. The company ordered some mugs from us last year and they have now updated their logo. Like anyone, if you are happy with the products you buy, you go back to the company when you need more. So, once again the workforce of ‘Black Cat Construction’ will be supping their tea and coffee out of mugs provided from the Digit4ll Pathway. Here you can see Paddy pressing the design onto the mugs..

..and then inspecting the finished product..

I hope you have enjoyed finding out more about the Digit4ll Pathway – don’t forget to keep an eye on our website http://nbenterprise.co.uk/  for news of our latest enterprises coming very soon! We hope you all have a great weekend.

Now we have an update from our job coach Genna on our Bridging the Gap student Josh down at MMU..

Only three weeks left for our students on their first term’s placement!! (The last week of term is full of exciting activities!)

So down at Manchester University, guess who’s back? Only Mr Lewis O.!! Lewis was with us last year on Bridging the Gap and has been asked to come back until Christmas to help with the workload in the IT department!

Lewis is an asset to the team and is needed to take over the jobs that Kyle used to complete, because Kyle (another former BtG and Future Finders student from 2017) is moving onto a Level 4 IT Engineering Apprenticeship!! Well done Kyle! New Bridge couldn’t be prouder of you and what you have achieved!

In Kyle’s own words,

‘With hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.’

I couldn’t have said it better myself! We have also had a visit from our lovely professional photographer Sam, who has been out and about in Manchester taking photos of our students. Here he is catching Josh filling up the slush machine (which he still wants to buy for his bedroom…and which mum is still saying “no” to!)..

Last but not least, a big thank you and good luck in your new role to our leader and the man who set up our placements in Manchester Metropolitan University many many moons ago, Mr Daniel Wood. Our students would not be working here today if it wasn’t for you and what you have put in place in Manchester and Greater Manchester to get our students working! Thank you and good luck as the new Assistant CEO (hopefully after this message I will find out he’s responsible for pay rises, haha, or if you don’t hear from me again it means I was fired for the ‘many moons ago’ comment….) Have a lovely weekend all!

As you know, Lumenus have had an exciting week..

On Wednesday Lumenus got on the tram and went to the Royal Exchange. We visited the Royal Exchange to participate in the Discovery Day learning about all the jobs on offer at the theatre. We will be working really closely with the Royal Exchange as part of their SEND Festival which Lumenus will be performing in next March.

We also met some of the Contact Theatre team. Contact is a charity-run venue fostering the creativity of teens/young adults, with workshops and gallery space. A few of the students will be doing some work experience with Contact in the next few months.

It was a wonderful morning in Manchester meeting everyone at the Royal Exchange and we are looking forward to working with everyone!

On Thursday it is Key Stage 5 pathway day and we head over to Oldham Theatre Workshop. This week we started a movement piece based around a park bench and all the people who come and go throughout the day. The piece is starting to come together nicely. We’ll leave you with a few pictures and we hope you have a lovely weekend..

Congratulations to this week’s ‘Worker of the Week’, our pre-intern Sarah who has been making a great impression at the Atrium Cafe at First Choice Homes..

Well done, Sarah! I also have a special ‘Week in the Life of…..’ feature to share with you – not from one of the students this time but from our very own Deputy Head here at Medtia, Mr Pidlyskyj, who started his new role with us in September. Please click here to find out all about his exciting week!

Finally, I would like to thank those families who joined us earlier this week for Parents’ Evening. We had record attendance and it was lovely to chat to many of you in person. If you have not yet had chance to fill in our very short questionnaire about your visit, please could you take a few minutes to complete it here. If for any reason you were unable to make it, however, please do get in touch to arrange for a report over the phone with your child’s teacher.

As this is my last blog entry, I would like to take the opportunity to say that I have loved every minute of my role as head of college. We really do have the most incredible and dedicated staff team and the most fantastic, capable and talented students. I am looking forward to continuing to support the college and I will certainly still see our staff and students regularly within my new role as I continue to base myself out of Medtia Square.

Thank you again for all your support,

Head of Key Stage 5 Pathways

Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can view our previous blog entries here

News from the Learning Centre and New Bridge School can be found here


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