Harrogate charity in running for top award after partnership with Harrogate Fair Trade shop
Henshaws Specialist College in Harrogate is celebrating being shortlisted for a Natspec award for its initiative placing students for work experience at the town’s Fair Trade shop.
Natspec is the membership association for organisations which offer specialist further education and training for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. It promotes specialism and personalisation to broaden the choices for students and support their aspirations.
The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on Thursday 13 May.
Henshaws and Harrogate Fair Trade shop have had a successful partnership for almost five years, with students volunteering in the shop, interacting with customers, processing orders and stocking shop items, all of which help to develop their workplace and community skills.
Work Experience Co-ordinator Dan White said: “Our Employability programme embodies our values of sharing, inspiring and empowering.
"Accessing work experience away from the college campus is key, allowing students to have a hands-on approach to developing vocational knowledge and skills that are crucial for a transition into adulthood.
"With students’ safety and well-being the top priority, restrictions put in place due to COVID-19 made this much more challenging.
“This partnership has shown the power of ‘business not as usual’. As COVID-19 saw the closure of non-essential shops, we joined forces to build an online presence to drive our partnership forward.
"Shop volunteers were able to continue their duties with a delivery service covering the Harrogate and Knaresborough area, and we’re proud to say the online shop actually resulted in greater sales during the Christmas period! Supporting each other meant sharing a pool of talent and enthusiastic potential.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Henshaws has been working with the shop to improve its online offering and plans are under way to enable students to return to the shop as soon as it is safe to do so.
Dan said: “The online shop may also offer a different type of work experience for students who may be able to deal with and process orders at the shop’s storage location and we are currently exploring this.”
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