Hartlepool school staff take on shift at McDonald’s to help pupils find jobs

Bev Williamson operations operations consultant (centre) with Amanda Metcalf (left) and Jackie Kimmins from Catcote Academy in Hartlepool Marina store.

Bev Williamson operations operations consultant (centre) with Amanda Metcalf (left) and Jackie Kimmins from Catcote Academy in Hartlepool Marina store.

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Two caring Hartlepool school workers hit the employment trail in a bid to drum up experience opportunities for their pupils.

Amanda Metcalf and Jackie McGarry, from Catcote Academy, undertook shifts at a number of businesses across Hartlepool to find out whether their children would be able to withstand the rigours of various employment roles.

Customer Deborah Foster is served by crew member Shannon Smith (centre) and Amanda Metcalf from Catcote Academy. Hartlepool Marina store.

Customer Deborah Foster is served by crew member Shannon Smith (centre) and Amanda Metcalf from Catcote Academy. Hartlepool Marina store.

The pair spent a day in McDonald’s, working the 8am to 4pm shift on everything from food preparation to cleaning and taking orders.

Catcote Sixth Form lead, Amanda, said: “We have some really great young adults here and all they need is an opportunity to shine. They may have certain needs but they are very capable of doing a good job and we would love people to give them a chance.

“Jackie and I decided to go in and check out the jobs for ourselves so we could best match the pupils with the opportunities.

“McDonald’s was a really interesting shift, it was hard work and quite fast-paced but certain aspects would suit some of our young people who will now visit McDonald’s for a taster day with a view to beginning a work placement for one day per week in September for the academic year as part of their personalised post-16 study programme.

Michelle Kimmins (left) Crew member looks on as Jackie McGarry from Catcote Academy serves a customer at Hartlepool Marina store.

Michelle Kimmins (left) Crew member looks on as Jackie McGarry from Catcote Academy serves a customer at Hartlepool Marina store.

“A job coach would also accompany young people from Catcote Academy who access a work experience placement in a local business ensuring they would receive assistance as and when it was required.”

Following on from McDonald’s, Jackie and Amanda also spent time at Ashbank Laundry and will be undertaking further shifts at J&B Recycling, Hartfields Retirement Village, The Grand Hotel and Mecca Bingo.

Amanda added: “Catcote Sixth Form has implemented a new study programme over the last two years for its post-16 learners, which concentrates on independent living skills and employability skills.

“The students have really enjoyed the new curriculum and have thrived in the work-based learning areas within Catcote Academy as well with local employers.”

Jackie McGarry, the careers and work experience co-ordinator added: “We are so grateful to employers for getting on-board.

“We realise the unknown may be a bit daunting to them but they get a lot out of helping our students too and with a job coach there to look after them it won’t be anything time-consuming for the employer.”

Anyone who feels they may be able to offer a student some work experience is asked to contact Amanda for further information on ametcalf@hpoolcatcote.org.uk or call 01429 264036.