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  • 40

    SEN Students gained employability skills

  • £160k+

    social return on investment

  • ASDAN

    qualification gained after our 5-day programme

Making a difference to young adults with SEN

Students at Shaftesbury High School gain employability skills during a fun week of activities


Our London & East team have been making a difference to students with special educational needs at Shaftesbury High School.

During April 2021, our team worked with 40 students aged 16-19, educating them on the world of work and employability skills.

Social Value manager in our London & East region, Matthew Weatherby, explains: “We all know that closing schools during the pandemic has hit children the hardest, however those with special educational needs have probably been hit the worst. So, in partnership with the school we designed a 5-day programme to help build a group of these students’ confidence and employability skills.”

Working closely with the school, the team devised a fun and educational programme of events for the students. The week of activities included:

  • A ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ style construction quiz and a virtual site tour of Watkins House.
  • A build a balloon chair challenge, whereby working in small teams, the students had to design and build their own balloon chair.
  • A virtual reality experience visiting some of project models using our VR kit.
  • A BIM Challenge where the students designed and built their own rockets using a brief.
  • A hands-on regeneration project around the school, including a new sensory area, clearing and cleaning up the garden area, and removing and replacing an old planter, all completed within a day by a team of 40 Students, three Willmott Dixon people, five people from our supply chain partners JBW and seven teachers.
  • CV writing, personality tests and interview practice, supported by our supply chain partners, Falcon Green and O’Neil & Brennan.

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On the last day, students undertook mock interviews. Matthew said the change in confidence he witnessed amongst students was fantastic. “When I arrived, I thought I was met with a group of young business executives - each student had really gone all out for their first ever interview. Feedback from our interviewers was extremely positive, it was clear that participants enjoyed every minute of the programme and were brimming with confidence.”

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Following the programme, the students completed a profile of achievement to gain an ASDAN qualification in Employability Skills.