More than 100 Ripley students have spent a week getting a taste of the world of work.
The 120 Year Ten students at Ripley Academy spent five days gaining work experience with a variety of employers including Ripley Hospital, Rolls-Royce, Interserve and Thorntons.
They were given an insight into a range of careers in different areas including nursing, retail, engineering and teaching.
Ten students spent the week at Acorn Training in Ripley, decorating and revamping offices while Ripley Academy opened its own hair and beauty salon with students providing the treatments.
Youth delivery manager at Acorn Training, Elly Suffolk, said: “This has been a very rewarding experience for staff at Acorn Training and the students of Ripley Academy, who made a real and lasting impact. They have transformed teaching and staff areas with their decorating and were quick to learn new skills in the brickwork challenge.
“The Year Ten students worked hard, had a positive attitude and were great representatives for both their school and young people within our society.”
Gerry Parr, learning support assistant at Ripley Academy, ran the hair and beauty salon.
She said: “We had a lady come in and teach the girls how to do nails and they’ve been working all week doing teachers and parents have come in too.
“They’ve also practiced on dolls. We were very busy towards the end of the week because we had our prom. Usually I run an after-school club in the salon and a lot of people didn’t even realise we were here.”
Students are asked to find their own work experience and start the process in October by researching employers and sending out letters.
Peter Bradley, curriculum leader for humanities at the academy, said he was pleased with the range of employers who have offered placements.
He said: “We’ve had a really wide range of employers offer work experience including Boots, Ripley Leisure Centre, schools and nurseries.
“It’s a great experience for our students and allows them to develop different skills, as well as giving them a taste of what it’s like out there in the real world. They had to use their social skills as they were meeting new people and we often find that the students are more mature when they return.
“They work harder and have more of a desire to achieve good qualifications, as they recognise the importance of realising their ambitions and aspiring to have a fulfilling career.”