A Spiralling Success: Work Experience placements for Brixton’s young people with Spiral Skills

Earlier this year, you may have spotted some particularly fresh looking faces behind some of our street food kiosk desks… Organised by Spiral Skills, we were proud to welcome (once again) a work experience programme inviting ESOL (English as a second language) students from Lambeth College, aged 16-20, to come and immerse themselves in the world of street food trading for a week.

We sat down with Spiral Skills to find out more about their mission, and the work they are doing with Brixton’s young people… 

Introduce Spiral! Who are you, and what is your mission?

Our vision is to ensure every young person is equipped to participate in society, make independent choices and take control of their own lives. Our immersive careers services work to ensure young people are excited about their future, motivated to make it a reality and equipped with the essential skills they need to succeed . 

Our services include immersive careers programmes; Engage, Inspire and Ignite. These are each tailored to young people at different stages of their journey to work. Our alumni are then supported to continually progress towards their goals through mentoring, work experience placements and employment opportunities. These services are all supported by industry professionals and our opportunity community, a London-wide network of organisations providing employment, training and enrichment opportunities. 

Based in Brixton, we collaborate with schools, colleges, pupil referral units and youth centres across Lambeth and London wide. We believe every young person should have equal access to the economy, and specialise in supporting young people with diverse needs and learning styles to help them identify, value and develop their passions and skills sets. 

Tell us about the work experience programme you ran at Pop Brixton… 

Last year, we partnered with Lambeth College to support 80 young people on their journey to employment. Following a series of workshops getting ESOL learners ready for work experience, we were supported by over 20 inclusive local businesses for their 3 day placements – like Pop Brixton. Pop Brixton has supported our work experience placements for a few years now!

During the last programme, Pop Brixton supported Spiral placing two amazing students within independent hospitality businesses, supporting these young people to gain confidence and skills during their placements. The programme won a Lambeth Made award, and the team at Spiral Skills also nominated Share a Slice for an award for their relentless support over the past two years as well.

Introduce us to Dawit and Thang…

Pop Brixton hosted two work experience students, Dawit (who spent three days at Souvlaki Kitchen) and Thang (who spent two days at Singhe Kitchen) . Both are aged 19 years old and only arrived in the UK less than two years ago. They really appreciated the opportunity to get some hands on work experience in an environment completely new to them, meeting people and practising English while supporting the vendors with day to day tasks!

What did they do during their work experience placements at Pop Brixton? 

The experience allowed them to develop their communication skills serving customers, helping with food preparation and delivery, whilst building resilience to fast paced environments. They gained great insight into the hospitality industry, what it’s like to run your own business, and learnt the different skills sets you need to succeed in the industry

They both had a great experience and Dawit was so great that Souvlaki Street promised to get in contact when they are next recruiting! 

“The workshops with Spiral were all activities about how to write CV, job applications, and how to do best when looking for a job.  I enjoyed the role play the best because I am now more confident as me for being in work, and in interviews. I know how to express myself and what to say now. The best of the programme was my placement. I loved the people I met.”

This year, thirteen work experience students from Platanos College spent their time at a variety of street food vendors. A huge thank you to Whisht Irish Sandwiches, Souvlaki Street, Mama’s Jerk, Love Churros, Halo Burger, Singhe Kitchen and Pop Brixton!

What’s next for Spiral Skills?  

Spiral are on a mission to support even more of Lambeth’s youth community into work experience placements and employment opportunities this year. We’ll be working with 16-24 year olds offering mentoring, advice and guidance and one to one supervision across their journeys.

If you are an inclusive organisation that believes in empowering the next generation, and can offer work experience placements, employment opportunities or further training for our youth network, please contact opportunities@myspiral.co.uk to join our opportunity community, or follow us on Instagram @spiralskills to keep in the know.

Follow the work Spiral Skills are doing via their website or Instagram:

www.spiralskills.co.uk | Insta @spiralskills | Email opportunities@myspiral.co.uk


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