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Additional needs pupils from Parkhill Secondary finding work thanks to enterprise hub

Additional needs pupils are to be helped to find jobs thanks to a unique new £200,000 enterprise hub.

Parkhill Secondary has become home to Enterprise Academy Parkhill where pupils can learn skills for work.

The centre includes a working kitchen and cafe, horticultural facilities - and even a full en suite Hilton hotel bedroom.

Margaret Murray, Inclusion Development Officer, said: “About a year ago, the head of inclusion at Glasgow City Council came out and said they would like to invest money to create a vocational hub.

“It meant we had the chance to go away and think about exactly what would benefit the pupils most, creating a purpose-designed facility from scratch.”

Parkhill has strong links with Hilton Glasgow and so the international hotel company was keen to be involved.

It paid for a full Hilton hotel bedroom with en suite bathroom to be built in the hub so pupils can learn Hilton standard housekeeping, trained by the hotel’s staff, without having to leave school.

Megan Rollins, 18, is studying for a National Progression Award (NPA) in Hospitality, including banqueting and cookery.

She is in school from Monday to Wednesday then heads out to City of Glasgow College for banqueting classes on a Thursday and Glasgow Clyde College on Fridays for catering classes.

Her classmate Sean Flanagan is similarly studying banqueting and also silver service.

He has been involved in a work placement portering and serving at Glasgow Hilton and has recently had a trial for a paid job.

The 18-year-old said: “Silver service can be complicated but I look at pictures of how the table should be laid out and memorise them.

“I really like meeting new people and on any day at the Hilton I can serve from a table of 10 to 400.

“I’ve met people from Glasgow and the other side of the world.

“Glasgow is the perfect place to have these skills because we have more restaurants than anywhere else and so I hope to always have a job somewhere.”

The upgraded facilities give young people in the school the opportunity to study vocational and SQA qualifications in hospitality, horticulture and administration.

A number of the pupils have already benefitted from the new hub and have secured work experience across the city with job offers in the pipeline for others.

Keen horticulture student Ryan Smith, 17, has been on placement with the council’s LES, tending roses in Tollcross Park.

Ryan said: “I love being outdoors and I hope they give me a job.”

Margaret added: “Glasgow has one of the largest tourism industries in Europe and so opportunities for jobs are huge.

“The whole area of hospitality is a good one for us. In an area like housekeeping, there is often high staff turnover so there are plenty of opportunities.

“For admin, our pupils like the repetitiveness of it and, again, there are usually lots of jobs openings.

“We are really focused on getting them moving on to positive destinations.”

Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Children, Young People & Lifelong Learning, said: “It was wonderful to see the new enterprise academy at Parkhill Secondary and this is going to open up so many additional opportunities for the young people and add value to their future career prospects.

"The partnership between Parkhill Secondary and the Hilton Hotel was formed through the Developing Young Workforce (DYW) scheme which also supplied funding for equipment in the school's Enterprise Academy."

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