Oak Grove College @ The Sand Project SEND to Enterprise

Skills for Business, Skills for Life

Using our in-house 5 a Day Expectations (5ade) tool to move students towards work readiness, and promoting the language of the #Skillsbuilder framework, students are supported through an enterprise experience throughout the year.

Taking students through the process of creating, developing and running their own business

Autumn Term 1: Creation

Learning to Work as a Company Team and Develop a Business Idea

The focus of this first term was team building, self awareness, recognising the 8 key Skillsbuilder skills in work related tasks and building confidence and familiarity in the working cafe environment.


I can use my imagination to create ideas

To support the students develop their confidence in generating and using new ideas, we set them the challenge of designing their own civilisation (they'd been stranded on a desert island from the teambuilding exercise before!). Students had to identify roles for themselves and communicate with each other to help complete their own task. It was also a great opportunity to see which roles people chose for themselves.

The group consisted of a map maker, inventor, carpenter, law maker, designer, recruitment officer and menu planner.

Staying Positive

Facing a new environment, undertaking unfamiliar jobs and working to a deadline whilst staying together as a team is not without its challenges.

The students learned a valuable lesson in accepting these difficulties and building the resilience to work through them

Teamwork and Problem Solving

Working together as a team was crucial for students to succeed in every problem solving activity

In the cafe each week, students were set the challenging task of working independently as a group to produce a lunch for 10 people, create and serve hot drinks, create a dessert, and clean and tidy the cafe throughout before leaving. This proved challenging for them the first time. BUT...

In their end of session evaluation, students quickly identifed reasons for their shortcomings AND created solutions to ensure they would work better next time.

They realised the key to a successful task was making sure they knew WHAT jobs needed doing, the ORDER each job should be done in and WHO was doing each job. Every member of the team needed a role to help complete their group task.

Aiming High

We discovered keeping an eye on the ideal future can help support and encourage the learning progression to reaching it

To support the development of self awareness, we set the students the task of identifying future goals for themselves. We used these aspirations to identify the actions, attitudes, training and next steps needed to reach these goals.


The group quickly learned that good leadership was not simply about bossing everyone else around.

Although natural leaders quickly emerged in the group, others needed guidance in how to take responsibility for a situation without relying on direction from others, or how not to overly dominate and ensure leadership was constructive and unifying.

In the final week, we set them the challenge of working together as a group where ALL of them were equal leaders.

They decided this meant:

  • making sure everyone had a job
  • looking to see what else needs doing
  • suggesting new jobs if someone has finished
  • offering to help someone else once you have finished
  • giving help if someone says they need it
I take responsibility for my team completing a task

Listening and Presenting

We believe reflection, evaluation and the recording of these processes, are powerful tools for promoting growth and self awareness. What better way to improve listening and presenting skills by doing all 3 at once!

What Next?

The group have decided they would like to explore breadmaking as a potential business next half term.

So watch this space!