Groups of learners from Yeoman Park Academy in Mansfield Woodhouse have been visiting allotments to find out more about career opportunities available within Mansfield District Council.
The series of sessions which have taken place at the Northfield Avenue Community Allotments are part of the authority’s Career Ambassador Programme. The initiative sees council officers work with secondary, SEND, college and alternative providers to help shape pupils' career pathways and give them insight into the working world. Currently, there are over 60 employees enrolled in the programme.
The allotment workshops have been tailored for the SEND pupils to ensure maximum exposure to the opportunities within the council and the value of voluntary work within their local community.
Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, said: “Visits to our green spaces and allotments for pupils is a valuable afternoon well-spent. Not only are they enjoying the health and wellbeing benefits of being outdoors, but they are also experiencing the types of jobs and volunteering opportunities available right on their doorstep.
“I am so pleased that with our Career Ambassador programme, the council’s Talent and Skills team have now conducted activities in every secondary, SEND, college, and alternative provisions in Mansfield.
“This is a momentous achievement for the council, as we have now built the foundations for what is already shaping up to be an exciting next school year, packed full of career activity for students in Mansfield.”
Former district councillor and horticultural specialist Amanda Fisher manages the community allotment in Mansfield Woodhouse, created during the Covid-19 lockdown. She took the learners on a tour of the site, introduced them to the chickens on site and also taught the boys how to re-pot sprouting seedlings.
She said: “We’ve been at this site for over two years now, and it was just baron; there was nothing on here when we took it on. Now, two years down the line, you can’t move for raised beds and plants.
“I think the allotments are a great place for kids to come, it’s not just about gardening, and it’s about being outside, working as part of a team and learning to eat healthily and finding out where food actually comes from – not the supermarkets.
“What’s better than running about on a site that is penned in, safe, and getting your hands mucky?”
The allotment is host to a variety of seedlings currently, with sweetcorn, cucumbers, lettuces, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, radish, courgettes, potatoes, runner beans, and gooseberries just being a small selection of what is grown and tended to by volunteers. All the produce is then donated back into the community for free.
Class 8 Teacher and Careers Lead at Yeoman Park Academy, Catherine Ketteringham, added: “We want to thank Mansfield District Council so much for organising these visits to Northfield Avenue Community Allotments. Amanda was so welcoming, knowledgeable and engaging, and it was lovely for our learners to see vegetables, fruit and flowers growing on a bigger scale from the seeds we have planted and are growing in school.
“It was also lovely to see them interacting with the chickens, which were a favourite for many of our learners.
“Visits like these are so important for our learners as they enable them to engage socially within our community and learn life skills and employability skills that they can use in preparation for adulthood.”