Eight students from Ipsley CE Academy in Redditch are celebrating their success after completing the Oakland Programme, a structured course designed to provide young people with valuable workplace experience. The programme is run by local children’s charity the Oakland Foundation, in partnership with key sponsor and local business Oakland International. Over a period of months, Foundation trustees worked with the Ipsley students to deliver a number of sessions, offering pupils the chance to understand where products come from, the safety awareness required regarding vehicles and lorries, as well as taking part in work shadowing within departments at Oakland International’s Redditch facility, all designed to support students’ understanding and identify the key skills needed by certain job roles. As they celebrated their last session together students enjoyed a team baking session organised and supported by Foundation trustees, with parents and carers invited to see the students each receive their Oakland Programme graduation certificate and gift voucher. Foundation Trustee, Hayley Smith, commented: “The Oakland Programme is designed to be flexible to best suit the outcome required for the pupils involved, and includes a number of structured sessions covering a range of topics aimed at engaging and raising students’ aspirations. “Their final food-based team challenge involved the students designing and cooking a main meal and dessert using ingredients provided, which they were then able to take home and share with parents, carers and guardians.” Thought provoking, this young people’s project offers the chance for students to experience diverse workplace environments and the feeling of ‘being at work’ and understanding of what this involves. Nicola Beech, Ipsley CE Academy Principal, commented: “We continue to be grateful for the additional opportunities our pupils receive through support from the Oakland Foundation. Pupils gain so much from spending time learning outside of the usual school environment and this project has made a real difference to the young people involved.” The Oakland Foundation works with children and young people within Redditch and Bromsgrove and the surrounding area through their work in the areas of Health and Nutrition, Education and Sport.