Learners attend Grow 19 to gain the skills and training they need to give them a final boost into employment or volunteering. As a result, work experience is a crucial part of what we do. Where possible, learners all have a weekly work experience placement, relevant to their programme of study and the accreditation they are working towards. The work experience day is longer than the normal college day – a full eight hours to prepare learners for the rigours of the workplace. Placements are long term, usually between three and six months in one setting. Where possible, learners are encouraged to travel to their placements themselves and, once settled, interact independently with their employer and colleagues so that, when they finish their course and begin working life, they are as comfortable as possible in a working environment.
We are always on the look-out for other work experience opportunities for our learners in the construction, horticulture, catering and hospitality industries. Please contact us if you are able to offer any help finding new placements.
Grow 19 would like to thank all the organisations that provide placements including Lewis Fish Grill, Maidstone Distillery, Hair Professional, Weald of Kent Golf Club, Charing Health Care, Maidstone RFC, Anchorians FC, The East Malling Centre and Community Supermarket and Maidstone Borough Council.
Currently, placements we offer include:
Horticulture & Maintenance
Learners working with the Maidstone Borough Council cleansing team are based at the depot in Park Wood but travel all around the borough, clearing leaves and litter, emptying bins and generally keeping our area tidy. Shifts start at 6am, in line with the expectations of the rest of the workforce.
Parks & Gardens
The Borough Council looks after parks, gardens and play areas all across the borough; mowing the grass, maintaining sports and play facilities and planting beds and ornamental gardens. Learners work with different teams, based in different parks around the town, each specialising in specific disciplines. Learners get the chance to pick-up lots of varied skills and techniques, from pruning the roses in Vinters Park Crematorium to marking out football pitches in Mote Park.
A placement in either a restaurant, cafe, distillery, hotel, hair salon or care home, lets our learners apply the skills and knowledge they have picked up during their training and previous placements. This can include preparation of food and drink, cooking, serving customers, cleaning, packing and working in busy teams. The number and variety of placements that Catering and Hospitality learners are able to access provides valuable experience, making them more attractive candidates once the time comes to make the move into paid employment.
Community Projects & Volunteering
Learners participate in a range of community projects and regular volunteering. This can include grounds work at local sports clubs, tidying, planting, maintaining gardens, painting, demolition tasks, stacking shelves and pricing stock. This enables learners to experience practical tasks in a different environment where they can improve their confidence, engage in their local community and develop key communication and working skills. This identifies and raises awareness of how volunteering can lead to future employment or social pathways.