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The new Café Collective opens tomorrow (Friday 9 December) at Southsea Library, giving young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) work experience, confidence, and the chance to see how valuable they can be in the workplace.
Developed by Portsmouth City Council, City of Portsmouth College and Solent Academies Trust, the project is part of the Employability Project which helps SEND students by developing and enhancing the skills required for the working environment.
The supported internships and employability training aim to improve the learners’ confidence and communication skills by focusing on what they can achieve, improving their confidence and life chances.
To celebrate the opening, a flash mob from the college and schools will perform outside the library at 11am tomorrow as part of the opening event. The following schools will be part of the flash mob:
• City of Portsmouth College
• Mary Rose Academy
• Creative Advances
• Chaos Support
• Redwood Park Academy
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, and Economic Development, said: “This is a fantastic project that helps students to learn by participating in a working environment. The time dedicated to training these students has the potential to be life-changing.”
Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education, said: “I’m excited to see how the students thrive and their employability skills develop whilst at the café. It’s an excellent initiative to show these young people how much they’re able to achieve, and demonstrate to future employers how valuable people with SEND can be in the workplace.”
Sharon Burt, chief executive officer of Solent Academies Trust, said: “We are delighted to continue our collaborative partnership with the City of Portsmouth College, and now Southsea Library.
“Following the opening of The Collective Shop at the college’s Arundel Campus in Arundel Street, earlier in the year, this exciting opportunity further extends our work experience curriculum offering students at Key Stage 4 and 5 the practical work skills and social communication they need in real-world settings. Our students really enjoy the opportunity to meet people from our local community and they will look forward to this whilst working in the cafe.”
Katy Quinn, principal and chief executive officer at City of Portsmouth College, said: “It’s fantastic for our students to be part of such a wonderful venture at the very heart of our community. It’s just one example of what we’re all about at City of Portsmouth College, enabling and inspiring our students to achieve above and beyond their goals – and what a way to celebrate it! A massive well done to everyone involved and here’s wishing the Café Collective team the very best of everything for the future.”