Lucy and Laura leave a legacy at Harvey Girls

24 July 2019

Industry Placement students, Lucy and Laura with Harvey Girls staff, cutting the ribbon for the new garden

Lucy Walker and Laura Blakemore, Level 3 Health and Social Care students at Burton and South Derbyshire College (BSDC) have gained an insight into the social care sector with an industry placement at Harvey Girls/East Staffordshire Family Support.

During their placements, Lucy and Laura got stuck into a broad range of activities, gaining an enriching experience which they will take with them into their future careers.

The students had the opportunity to join outreach workers visiting client homes and see the plans that are put into place to support struggling families. They also helped to host activities with children in schools, and were each given their own project to work on for the duration of their placements, all of which has helped them to develop their confidence and social care skills.

Lucy was tasked with leading a gardening project, which is located at the charity’s second base at Abbott Beyne School. The brief required her to design and create a garden where parents could bring their children to take part in activities, with the aim of teaching them about the great outdoors, balanced diets and how to grow fruit and vegetables. Children will get to learn about nature while surrounded by a variety of plants, hedgehog homes, bug hotels and bird feeders.

Following five months of hard work, Harvey Girls hosted an official opening event for the garden on Friday 5th July, where Lucy and Laura got to cut the ribbon. Local businesses were invited and there was a selection of cakes to enjoy as guests admired the final results of the garden.

Meanwhile, Laura’s project was to build a story area for children at Harvey Girls’ main base in Horninglow Road. Her vision was a cosy area with a crackling fire and rocking chair; which she brought to life by claiming a section of the office and creating her masterpiece with bright paints in shades of orange, red and yellow. She also retouched an old mantelpiece which she attached to the wall around her artwork.

Speaking of her experience, Lucy said: “I was really excited and pleased to be offered the opportunity to do an industry placement because the course I want to do at university needs a lot of work experience. I want to be a midwife in the future and my placement is preparing me as I’m developing my care skills and learning how to approach different people, which I’ll need to do as a midwife.”

Laura commented: “I was very nervous at first, but also excited because I like to learn new things. We were made to feel really welcome and the industry placement has really boosted my confidence; I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve got to work with children, which is great as I’d like to go into midwifery.”

Industry placements give students on Level 3 technical education courses the chance to put their knowledge and technical skills into practice in the workplace. This involves a 45-60 day placement in a relevant role with an employer where students can gain the skills they need in their future careers. Meanwhile, employers are able to nurture the next generation of workers while benefitting from an extra member of staff with fresh ideas.

Ian North, Chief Executive at Harvey Girls said: “We wanted to give the students the opportunity to have a real life experience, working with some of the most vulnerable families in our society. We thought as a charity we could offer a unique experience which will help them in the future.

“It’s about having that respect for the young people and giving them the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals; it’s important that they get the practical experiences to build the foundations for their future.”

Kate Wood, Operations Manager at Harvey Girls added: “There was some apprehension to begin with, but we’ve been really lucky with both students. They’ve been a breath of fresh air; they’ve been really adaptable and brought new ideas to the organisation. We’ve seen them as part of the team and they’ve really helped with projects that we perhaps wouldn’t have been able to get off the ground as quickly without their help. They’ve left a really good legacy, so there’s going to be some big shoes to fill for future placements.”

Any employers interested in offering a Level 3 student an industry placement can find out more by calling Burton and South Derbyshire College on 01283 494568/01283 494805 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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