A blossoming business for college students

Pops gardening_350pxStudents on the Personal Options programme at East Berkshire College are enjoying the fruits of their labour with the success of their garden business.

The 'growing' project is part of a special business enterprise scheme developed by the College to teach students with learning difficulties valuable life skills, which are transferable to the workplace.

Under the guidance of College staff, the students have been growing and selling a range of plants, vegetables and tubs in a specially designed garden area at the Langley Campus. Through buying, ordering, planting and organising weekly sales; the students have been learning about finances, literacy, numeracy, teamwork and IT skills.

The business, which has made a profit of £400 in its first year, is proving a popular and valuable teaching tool according to lecturer Jenny Cobbe.

"This is the first year we've run the garden project as a business enterprise," said Jenny. "The business promotes teamwork and builds confidence. The aim is to prepare our students for the workplace. They learn to work together and at the end of year, we celebrate their achievements with a barbecue to eat the remaining produce they've grown."

All profits from the business, which is known as POPPIES, are being reinvested for the next year.

The Personal Options programme is an entry-level course for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. For more information on this and over 700 other courses available at East Berkshire College, please call 0845 373 2500

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