TaTS Employers Workshop

Talk about Talk Secondary Employers’ Workshops start to roll off the production line!

Schools participating in I CAN’s pilot of Talk about talk Secondary programme have been running training workshops for external audiences, and they’ve got lots to be proud of!

Over the last year staff have been trained, students inducted and a series of lessons delivered so that students have the skills and knowledge to co-present the 2 hour interactive workshop. The workshop training explains the basics of language and communication including common difficulties – with a particular focus on the impact of communication difficulties in the workplace.

So how have secondary aged young people coped with the demands of co-presenting the workshop? Especially as most of the students taking part experience communication difficulties themselves.

The first school to deliver the workshop was The Vyne School in Basingstoke, and they arranged it at the premises of Fujitsu, a well respected local employer with pre-existing links to the school.

In the lead up to the workshop, school staff helped their Yr10 student team develop a thorough understanding of workshop content as well as the presentation skills needed to confidently face an audience.

At Fujitsu, employees including managers, technical designers, apprentices, software developers and business developers were incredibly complimentary about the training. They all commented on their better understanding of speech and language. They loved the interactive exercises and one employee even spoke of her own dyslexia to her colleagues for the first time. ‘It was an incredible moment’ said school staff, ’it has definitely been worth all the hard work and has instilled a sense of pride in young people who needed this’.

Very different, but equally successful was the workshop delivered by Barr’s Hill School in Coventry.  Staff in the school’s Speech and Language Unit were supported by Coventry City Council’s Communication and Interaction Support Service to enable a team of Yr9 students to deliver their workshop at the school.  Rather than local businesses, those attending the training came mainly from the Youth and Community Service, but also included a local church pastor and a teacher trainer.

None of the students had ever talked to an audience before Talk about Talk Secondary. All were very anxious beforehand (remember that embarrassment peaks at about 15 years of age!) but each one conquered their fears, used key word reminder cards and performed confidently. As an I CAN observer, I marvelled at how they stayed calm and supported each other.  When one lad, determined to make good eye contact with his audience while explaining relevant facts on the screen behind him, stumbled with his words, another student very quietly prompted him with what to say.  This wasn’t planned but it was inspiring to see students realise what they were capable of achieving together and basking in the warm applause.

Other workshops have been just as successfully delivered in places as far apart as Morpeth in Northumberland and Dawlish in Devon.

The pilot continues in the autumn term in a mixture of old and new locations.  Look out for more news from these innovative schools later in the year as they continue with the programme.

Click here to find out more about I CAN’s Talk about talk Secondary programme