A new shop, stocked and run by students with additional needs, has been opened at our Arundel Campus in the commercial heart of Portsmouth.

Many of the students involved were there for the official opening by Lord Mayor Hugh Mason and Lady Mayoress Marie Costa.

Called ‘The Collective’, the shop sells handmade gifts and artwork that have been carefully crafted by our talented SEND students, together with others from Solent Academies Trusts’ Mary Rose and Redwood Park Academies.

But it doesn’t end there, work placements are also being offered to equip SEND learners with employability skills for the future.

Said the Lord Mayor: “This is no ordinary shop. In fact, it is an extraordinary shop, as there is no substitute for real life preparation for a job and here at The Collective students will gain real life experience of retail as well as confidence in their abilities.”

Our Foundation Learning Manager Hannah Parkinson said: “The Collective promotes SEND students in the local community and gives opportunities for young people to develop their employability and interpersonal skills.”

“It’s in an ideal location and it’s hoped it will attract a large amount of passing trade from local residents.”

The students will sell items that they have produced at school, college or at the on-site workshop.

Sharon Burt, chief executive officer of Solent Academies Trust, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this collaboration with the City of Portsmouth College. This is a crucial aspect of our future focused curriculum, preparing pupils with the life skills and real-world employability experiences that are so vital for life beyond school and college.

“So many people have been integral in the forming of The Collective and we would like to thank them all, including students, staff, families, City of Portsmouth College, Portsmouth City Council, and Buildbase, who kindly donated all the wood which the students have used to make shelving and other display units for the shop.”

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