We have had funding from:
Independent and Work Ready CIC is a not for profit family business run by Karen Yates set up in 2019 but since 2020 has offered virtual training and work experience in product design leading to a CPD qualification with participants designing many types of products including quality, key rings, T shirts, caps, tote bags and much more we print and sell. Karen has Cerebral Palsy and is Dyslexic. The service is disability lead and run.
We began our placements during lockdown working with the Black country careers consultum, over 250 students from SEND schools. collages and Pru's from the Black Country such as Birmingham and a few extra schools more local to us such as Pebble Brook in Aylesbury Bucks and Stoney Dean SEN school in Amersham Bucks, over time we continue to work with many of these schools.
Participants watch our own animations learning about business and our printing methods and have sessions with artists using both traditional art and digital IT skills. We encourage employability and self expression. We hope the website and organisation will provide a creative space and voice to all and you do not need a disability to take part but especially to those who struggle to express through existing options we hope to encourage self expression in a way that works for each participant. We have our own communication card documents for those who need them.
Participants on completion can set up their own business selling their own designs we print for them. Our services can be accessed by anyone almost anywhere as we are virtual and online we are open to all.
We have experience also working with both mainstream colleges and SEND schools UK wide. We embed English and maths throughout such as for maths we have maths art projects available and market research looking at the cost of items and getting participants thinking about the price an item should hopefully sell for. We get participants thinking about product slogans and product descriptions to embed English as well as othering creative writing placements and placement writing for the website.
Participants can use traditional art like painting, watercolours, acrylics, drawing or digital art, use software like CANVA to create patterns, use photography or craft. If a participant does not like or feel confident with art we have other methods for creating designs such as with Lego! We have projects such as creating Lego Patterns participants then learn to photo edit using CANVA OR Photopea creating special effects that look like interesting abstract patterns. If a participant strongly does not want to use a method like traditional art they do not have to as we tailor placements to individuals. They can use our own IWR art outlines in a way that works for them such as using water colour, metallic markers or craft. We have a very large range of outlines from patterns to animals, to cars. We offer different complexity of colouring pages and line drawing outlines. Outlines can even be made into a seamless pattern using software like CANVA.
If you are local to IWR which is based in High Wycombe you may be able to help out at community events like craft fairs where we like to showcase participants work/designs and sell to support our service. This gives customer service experience and the chance to work in a team.
We also want to give participants the chance to explore potential hobbies, interests and strengths and so can create a personalised placement for some participants for example we have had a participant interested in beauty do some great make up tutorial videos for us, others have done life skill videos or stories or reviews on their interests. We want to give a creative space to all participants to explore what works for them. Karen for example is revisiting carriage driving with the Riding for the Disabled so she can take her young son out when ready. Karen has not done this since she was a teenager so roads beware! On the IWR website we have lots of sports and hobby details take a look!
In placements we also encourage participants to consider their own business ideas. Karen has started writing a children's story and activity book to encourage imagination, creativity, prewriting and communication skills motivated by her young son David-Henry Yates born in 2022. The book is themed around the 'Pattern Claw Kingdom' We want participants to also consider what they make like to do for their own business or creative ideas for self expression.
Previously Karen has worked in both further and higher education SEND. She has supported people with getting their EHC plans, PIP forms and gone with them to PIP tribunals with success. She has worked as a Mental Health and Autism specialist mentor in higher education and a Learning Development Advisor in further education drawing on lived disability experiences to tutor on employability/basic English/maths, support 1;1 support in the class, in small groups and therapy groups such as for speech and language, occupational therapy or Mental health.
Karen enjoys learning about new disability technology to help overcome obstacles. The iPad can be amazing. I’m a strong believer in the benefits of neurodiversity . She feels strongly on the benefits of work for all. Karen set up and runs the service and designed and runs the IWR website. Jennifer leads with the printing of the products.
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