Medway and Swale Supported Internships groups visited Boutilliers Brewery in Faversham. Boutilliers is a relatively new business, brewing and selling seasonal, craft ales. The business was started by two friends in 2015 and got off the ground with the help of a crowd funding initiative.
The employer visit began with students from Medway travelling by train to Sittingbourne to meet the Swale students. Practising independent travel is a useful opportunity for many students who have not travelled alone on public transport before. All students took responsibility for their own tickets and got a taste for what it is like to travel to work by public transport.
The brewery is not easily accesible by public transport, and so the group then travelled by coach to Macknade Fine Foods on the outskirts of Faversham.
The visit included a tour of Boutilliers Brewery where students listened intently to the story of how the business began and what it takes to run your own business. Brewery owner Richard also gave the students some invaluable tips for what employers look for in an interview. Boutilliers founders, Richard and Phil, are well experienced in talking about their business journey and were featured in the Metro newspaper - http://metro.co.uk/2016/10/07/heres-why-you-should-quit-your-job-and-open-that-brewery-you-always-dreamt-of-6177571/
Students got to smell, touch and taste the raw ingredients which proved to be an enjoyable experience. We believe that the best learning happens when we are having fun and this was a great example of an education visit where lots of fun and laughter was had!
The experience was enriched by an unexpected need to find alternative transport to the brewery after taxi plans fell through. Chalkwell Coaches stepped in and offered a discounted rate to transport the group to and from the visit. This has opened up a conversation with the company in exploring options for providing work experience and a new employer partnership.
Work coach, Karen, said of the support from Chalkwell, “We value the support we received from Chalkwell because employer visits and work experience are really important for our Skillnet Group students. The visits are often the first step towards a longer term placement or internship and, more crucially, their future independence as they enter the world of paid employment.”