Harrogate Fair trade Shop and Henshaws

We believe in changing lives and creating opportunities here in Harrogate too, which is why we’ve teamed up with Henshaws Specialist College to run our online shop. Students will pick and pack your order as part of their work experience, gaining valuable skills and giving us a helping hand.  

Working with Harrogate Fair Trade Shop

Dan White, Henshaws Work Experience Co-ordinator explains how this came about. 

Based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Henshaws Specialist College offers places to students aged 16 – 25 with special educational needs and disabilities.

Henshaws and the Harrogate Fair Trade Shop have held a successful mutually beneficial partnership for almost five years. Our students have played a vital role in volunteering within the shop. This relationship only became stronger and developed further due to the addition of the e-commerce platform as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Henshaws students have integrated themselves into the volunteer team at Harrogate Fair Trade shop. Here they fulfil volunteer vacancies throughout the year, interacting with customers, processing orders and stocking shop items, and recently, packaging items to be collected for delivery.

All workforces, businesses, teams and organisations can benefit from working with a diverse range of individuals. By participating in this work experience, students can deploy their classroom based learning and skills in a real world setting. In addition, the volunteers at Harrogate Fair Trade shop have accumulated experience and awareness of diversity and inclusion within the voluntary sector.

This opportunity provides our students with the chance to explore their vocational interests, accumulate experience in retail, engage with the local community. This assists in identifying their current strengths and areas for development.

Taking the shop online

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shop had to close, and students could no longer access work experience. So in the spirit of Henshaws, commitment to our students and work placement providers innovation had to be at the forefront of future partnership working.

The partnership also developed with Christmas in mind; as this is usually a busy time for the shop, some service needed to resume. This resulted in valuable work experiences brought onto the campus where COVID-19 restrictions could be adhered to.

Coming out of the pandemic, we aim to provide a different work experience by picking and packing/stock management at the Harrogate Fair Trade shops stock storage location at Community House. Additionally, we are looking to work closely with the shop to explore different and more bespoke product ranges representing the local area.

We can't wait to see what the future holds for our partnership; with solid foundations already in place, there is excellent scope for future developments. It is down to the efforts of our students and the staff at Harrogate Fair Trade shop that this has flourished thus far.

At Henshaws, we strive for students to go beyond expectations, develop independence and acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities to make a successful transition. Our Employability programme embodies these values and tailors them to the world of work, vocational training and educational development. Accessing work experience away from the college campus is a key element of the programme. This allows students to have a hands on approach to developing vocational knowledge and skills that are crucial for transitions into adulthood.

Learn more about Henshaws College