E Co-op Work Experience
Many of our leavers have valuable work experience, working at E Co-op in New Malden, making poppies for Remembrance Day and boxes for use by commercial companies in the local area. This programme of work experience gives our students a first hand, real life chance to follow a routine of working for a full day, including, in their last term, independently buying their own lunches in a local café. It was 4 years ago that we met the wonderful people who run this charity for Adults with learning difficulties and started taking groups of 8 students at a time to their workshops. We found very quickly that the Poppy making is done to a system that fits in perfectly with our TEACCH system used at school. Students with Autism find it a calm and methodical way of entering, probably for the first time, a real workplace, where they mix with other people they may not have met before and are responsible for their own work station.
In 2015, E Co-op set up a bicycle repair shop, fixing and selling bikes to the general public. It is hoped that small groups of our students, who may be interested in this type of work, will be able to work alongside their fully qualified bike mechanics to learn some of the different techniques used to get bicycles back to their former glory. This will range from being assistants to the mechanics, to cleaning and washing the bikes and then showing them and selling them to members of the public.