Derby boys recycle skips

Out of the Classroom, Derby pupils learn engineering skills to help them get a job

Young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties are learning work skills at a Derby engineering project.

A GROUP of Derby school pupils have been learning traditional engineering and welding skills by manufacturing recycling skips – and now they have sold their first one.

The students, who come from various schools across the city, are getting hands-on engineering experience and nationally recognised qualifications at the yard run by Engineered Learning.

The workshop, which was set up two years ago by former youth worker and welder Dan Read, offers young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties a chance to learn skills outside the classroom. It also aims to teach them self-motivation, determination and punctuality

The provision is arranges activities on behalf of schools through its Junction 16 programme, offering alternatives to mainstream education.

The students, who are all aged between 13 and 16, learn steel fabrication and engineering skills at the workshop in Coleman’s Yard, Alfreton Road, Derby.

They practise by welding skips, which provides a solid foundation for progression into other areas of modern engineering.

Dan said: “The young people who come here are prolific non-attenders or have social and emotional issues. They might have been excluded, or are at risk of exclusion, but we find that they make more effort with us because we treat them like adults.

“They also feel like what they are doing is worthwhile. This allows them an easier way of seeing results and they get a genuine sense of achievement from seeing a product they have made go out of the door.

“These young people have been pushed to the back of the employment queue simply because they may have been excluded or may not get lots of GCSEs.

“What we are trying to do it is give them skills which make them an instant asset to an employer and nudge them back to the front of the employment queue.”

Pupils begin by marking the steel out with chalk lines, which reinforces functional skills.

Students are then taught how to cut it all out with angle grinders, which teaches them hand to eye co-ordination, and then they begin welding career. Then they paint the skips.

The first skip made by the youngsters has now been sold to Ward Recycling.

Students spend between half a day and two days a week with Dan and his team, depending on their school.

Nylo Markham, 15, a Noel-Baker School pupil, said: “I’ve been coming here for four months and I’ve learnt about welding, fabrication and health and safety.

“We are treated differently here, we feel like we are part of a family and I don’t want to let Dan down by messing about. I want to join the Army when I leave school and this qualification will help me get in.”

Sixteen-year-old Jack Grattidge attends Kingsmead School’s Wisgreaves Road site. He said: “I’d come here every day if I could.

“I am applying to do engineering at Derby College and I took a test as part of my interview and they said I can go straight in at level two.”

There is a serious shortage of welders and fabricators in the UK, a gap in the industry since the old style apprenticeships stopped.  If  these lads enjoy and do well at the trade, they will surely be in a position to find employment, develop as individuals and gain great self respect.  A good job well done Dan.

Thank you CHERYL HAGUE for sharing this article
By Derby Telegraph
 |  Posted: June 13, 2015


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