Students from One in a Million Free School took part in a five week Words for Work programme in partnership with Provident Financial Group (PFG).
The Words for Work Key Stage 3 programme gives students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to meet volunteers from a local business or organisation and learn about job roles and the skills needed at work to communicate professionally and effectively. One in a Million Free School has worked several times with PFG.
The programme at One in a Million Free School began in May 2022 and involved two engagement sessions with staff at PFG. Students got to meet volunteers for an interview session at their school where they were able to ask a range of questions about their role and what their typical work day looks like.
“All the volunteers were lovely to work with. They really made the students feel at ease and had a great rapport with everyone. They were very enthusiastic to work with the students.” Teacher
The students spent the following weeks working on various activities to develop and strengthen their communication skills. This included creating role play scenarios and email writing to highlight the importance of and differences in workplace communication.
“I have learned to make eye contact when speaking to people, and I feel more confident about speaking in public. I also have learned to think about my body language”. Student
The PFG staff returned to the school at the end of the programme to watch the student presentations and give valuable feedback to them on the skills they demonstrated and how they could improve their performance further. The students displayed amazing speaking and listening skills during the presentation sessions and were given plenty of practical advice to use in the future.
“A student who is neither confident nor enthusiastic about English, realised that communication is not only important, but accessible. There was a real difference in their confidence level by the end of the programme, and I saw much greater effort in English classes afterwards.” Teacher
"This programme has really helped us. We now know how to present ourselves and how to change our tone, pace and vocabulary to match different situations." Student
Students and staff at the school gave overwhelmingly positive feedback about the benefits they learnt and experienced through the Words for Work programme with the National Literacy Trust and PFG. The school reported the event on their own website and highlighted the incredible support that PFG has given to the school in the last decade. The Words for Work programme gives staff at the company a further opportunity to share their advice and experiences to students who live locally to the company and can help them see work as accessible to them in the future.
“Our students have greatly enjoyed working with the National Literacy Trust and dedicated volunteers from PFG. It was fantastic to hear students aspire to become doctors, engineers, architects, and to work in AI (artificial intelligence) in the tech world, and to hear what steps they need to take to get there. We look forward to working with you again in future. We can't thank you enough!”Teacher