TCAT students check in for hotel work placements

Published: June 8, 2017
Photo of Sarah Chesters at work at the Whitehouse Hotel

Sarah Chesters at work at the Whitehouse Hotel

Telford College of Arts and Technology has secured a deal with a local hotel to provide work experience placements for students with severe learning difficulties.

The Whitehouse Hotel in Wellington is offering learners from TCAT’s Willow Tree Centre the chance to experience working life in its housekeeping department.

Tom James, deputy head at The Willow Tree Centre, said: “This is very exciting for our students, who hope to mimic what they have seen in the Channel 5 TV show, The Special Needs Hotel.”

“They are visiting the Whitehouse every Tuesday morning, and have full access to the housekeeping department to carry out duties such as cleaning and changing hotel bedrooms and bathrooms – all supervised by our own staff.

“It allows our students to see what it is like to work in a hotel, but also to demonstrate independent living skills, such as cleaning and changing a bed.”

The first two Willow Tree Centre students taking part in the placement programme are good friends Sarah Chesters, 20, and 19-year-old Katie Hinton, who are both former pupils at The Bridge School.

Sarah and Katie both spoke about how their time at TCAT was helping them to develop their confidence, communication skills and independence.

Photo.. Enjoying her work . . . Katie Hinton at the hotel

Enjoying her work . . . Katie Hinton at the hotel

Tom James added: “The hotel management are very keen to work with us and continue these work experience placements into 2018 – and have even discussed further developing it into other areas of the hotel.”

The Willow Tree Centre is a specialist service based on the TCAT campus for students with severe learning difficulties and complex needs. It runs full-time courses for 16-19 year-olds, as well as a part-time post-19 programme.

Courses are personalised, and designed to help students develop their communication and becoming as independent as possible, to live as full a life as they can.

All students on the post-19 curriculum take core courses including literacy, numeracy, independent living skills, and world of work training.