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Learners develop business enterprise skills and enhance self-confidence

Girvan Opportunities Day Service in South Ayrshire provides a range of holistic and personalised learning opportunities to adults with learning disabilities. Students develop new skills with a view to achieving their own personal outcomes and they benefit from meeting new people and enjoying new experiences.

Girvan Opportunities has offered ASDAN courses since 2013 and currently delivers Towards Independence, a programme specifically developed for learners with severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). The programme provides formal recognition for small steps of achievement.

Careen Rennie, Unit Team Leader, said: “Most recently, the students undertook the Towards Independence Business Enterprise module to enable them to develop their entrepreneurial skills, apply prior knowledge and learning in a real-life business setting and develop an awareness of working within a team and towards deadlines. The group decided that their overall aim would be to make handmade crafts and gifts that they would then sell at a community fete the following summer. Key elements of the business plan that the group created included establishing individual roles and responsibilities, developing products, outlining the finance budget and drafting timescales and a marketing strategy.”

Students had to work together to complete the Business Enterprise module, which included discussion groups, shopping outings to buy materials, creating a rota for the community fete stall and making posters to advertise the event.

Careen said: “The students really liked the structure of the programme and enjoyed working alongside their friends in small groups. Having their own roles and responsibilities, as well as their own ASDAN student book, was very important to them and they valued the opportunity to learn new skills and deal directly with the public. They have developed their literacy, numeracy and communication skills and have been able to evaluate and record their own personal development throughout the module.

“The students have greatly benefitted from undertaking the ASDAN Towards Independence programme. It has provided them with learning opportunities regardless of their ability, and it has equipped students with skills that will continue to benefit them for the rest of their lives. The Towards Independence programme enables learners to work towards their own personal outcomes, thereby enhancing self-confidence and ambition.”