Beech Lodge special school has relaunched its “Apprenticeshop” on a local high street, allowing students the chance to work in a real-life retail setting.
The special needs school for students age seven to 18 is opening the shop on Maidenhead High Street after the project was successful at another location.
Set up as a Community Interest Company (CIC) The Apprenticeshop offers meaningful work experience to young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The shop sells vintage, recycled and pre-loved homewares whilst simultaneously raising much needed funds for local charities.
Originally launched in November 2021, the Apprenticeshop was created to underpin Beech Lodge’s aim of developing students’ social skills, self-esteem and self-confidence.
Over the last three years, despite the pandemic, many young people have completed vital work experience in the shop, enabling them to foster independence and develop key life skills before they transition to the wider world.
They have learned a great deal about the retail industry from stock taking, pricing up items, cleaning, advertising, point of sale, taking cash and card payments and dealing with customers.
Now, relocated and rebranded, the new Apprenticeshop CIC is offering opportunities for other local schools, including Forest Bridge School and Manor Green School to take part and offer a retail working and learning space for their SEND pupils.
The new location also means that the Apprenticeshop can now be open every day of the week and meet the demand of the community.
Daniela Shanly, proprietor of Beech Lodge, a not-for-profit school, said: “We are so proud of the Apprenticeshop as it epitomises everything that Beech Lodge stands for and we are thrilled that we can offer this opportunity to other local schools.
“As a special school educating some of the most misunderstood young people in society, we are acutely aware of the importance of developing our pupils to becoming valued and responsible members of the wider community.”
The Apprenticeship is at No 4 High Street, Maidenhead and is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-3pm.