SEND Research Project funded by Heathrow Community Trust

It’s still went ahead!  Yes, a project that was started last year at the beginning of the academic term in 2019, looks to be finally completed this autumn thanks to the determination of  EBSI (UK) Ltd, Spark!, consultant Fiona Kellam, and the schools who are keen to get involved, no matter what Covid -19 throws at them.  

Heathrow Community Trust fund, kindly sponsored EBSI (UK) Ltd as well as Spark! Our partners in Hounslow to work with mainstream schools and SEND (Special Education Needs or Disabilities) schools to carry out research to ascertain what employability readiness provision is being provided for these students to ensure they are ready for the world of work.  The project, which was twofold, firstly carried out research in the winter of 2019 to find out what provision was currently available to this group of young people whether they were in a mainstream school or a SEND school.   Research was conducted via an online survey, as well as through a focus group of teachers which was kindly hosted by British Airways.  

In total 13 responses were received from schools in the boroughs of Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow.  When these schools were asked if they had a Careers Plan targeting each of the Gatsby Benchmarks?  12 of the 13 schools, did have this in place, which was great news and when schools were asked what barriers their young people were facing around employability?  One school summed this up:- 

“It would help if there were clearly available programmes to support young people with SEN/D into employment – not just through training or work experience, but a programme with a very real job at the end of it. Former students in the past who have taken on supported placements have found that there is no actual employment within the organisation at the end of it. For many people with disabilities, change is extremely challenging, and they struggle to transfer new skills to a different situation. They find it hard to compete in the labour market and would benefit from a coherent programme to support them through training and into employment with the training company”.

The schools were asked would you welcome more input from employers, and do you need more support with the current WRL/WEX programme in your school?  

  • Yes, Yes, Yes for SEN pupils 
  • Mock Interviews 
  • Finding more employers who might want to employ SEND students 

As a follow up to the research EBSI (UK) Ltd ’s consultant Fiona Kellam worked with the schools to develop some work readiness workshops to help enable the young students to develop some key skills that are needed in order to enter the world of work.  

Before Covid-19 a set of workshops were in the diary, as well as very keen volunteers, sadly these workshops had to be put on hold.   However, we did manage to complete one workshop which took place at The Rise School in Hounslow in March, just before lockdown.  Students had a fun day,  

Students at the RISE SCHOOL in Feltham presenting their ideas to the peers.  

becoming budding entrepreneurs and designed a shoe for their own shoe manufacturing companies.  When students were asked what skills they had learnt that day?  88% stated communication skills – speaking and listening, whilst 82% stated they had learnt how maths and finance was used.  

The students were highly creative and came up with some fantastic products by the end of the day.  

Part of the challenge was that the shoe must fit a member of the team and be modelled!  

Other students from Guru Nanak Sikh Academy have attended bespoke tours at Uxbridge College and this was followed by CV writing and Mock Interview workshops, delivered by our partners Spark! 

Students from the Pupil Referral Unit in Ealing, as well as Meadow schools had workshops delivered to them focusing on CV writing, these were hosted by the Marriott Group and followed virtual mock interviews which were carried out by volunteers from Mace, BSI group, GSK, Scott White and Hookins, Marriott Group, Pfizer, Strong Recruitment, Hawk Training and Grass Roots Forest School.  We are grateful to all the volunteers who gave up time to carry out these interviews with the students.  The feedback from the students was incredibly positive indeed.  

It is hoped that the project will have long term sustainability, and that schools will become aware of some of the programmes that are available to these students to enable them to be better equipped for the world of work and to have the confidence to make job applications, and secure long-term employment.   We also hope that through this project, we have increased awareness to employers about some of the skills these young people can also bring to their companies.  

If you as an employer have an opportunity for one of our young people, please get in touch via email at   

Matrix Re-accreditation achieved

EBSI (UK) Ltd is pleased to announce that we have once again secured the Matrix accreditation.    This was first achieved in 2013, when we set up our Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) Service and trained over six staff members to be qualified at Level 6.  This is the third cycle of the accreditation, and EBSI is pleased to say, that we have managed to achieve it again.

Our strengths were recorded by the assessor to be “As a small organisation, resources are focused on delivering a high-quality service to clients and therefore some of the systems/formal procedures that may be found in larger organisations would not be expected to be present.  However, the organisation is effective in finding innovative ways, within their capacity, to address needs.  The ‘self-evaluation review’ for staff to reflect upon their performance is a good example, where staff review how they are performing against operational areas, skills and knowledge requirements”.

The organisation is very effective at identifying opportunities/needs/gaps in provision and developing proposals to address the needs.  A recent example is that for the provision of good IAG for students with SEND”.

Our partners gave some very positive feedback and we would like to thank all partners, including students that provided feedback to the assessor.

Partners confirmed EBSI is well-respected and the services are valued.  They spoke of both their knowledge of the local area and their skills in engaging with students.

Comments made to the assessor in face to face or telephone interviews by two schools who use EBSI’s CEIAG Service include the following:

“It is bespoke, it is just about the student” 

“It really works, they are so thorough, I can completely rely on them”

EBSI has also been capturing some feedback from students whom have completed their work experience via online Survey Monkey, and shared this with the assessor:

As a result of work experience, I better understand the skills employers want”.

 “I have developed some new skills that employer’s value”.

“It definitely made me think whether 6th form or college is right for me”.

“They give you a broad view, to give you more options, it makes you think more”.

 “I have a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses”.

“I am clearer about what I want to do in the future in education and career”. 

 “I understand why it is important to work hard at school”.

In another evaluation for a mock interview session, the report confirmed that 81% of students found the experience helpful and said it would help them in any future real interviews.

We now look forward to working on some of our development areas and offering all our partners an exceptional service for the next cycle and working with you all again, whether your a business, school or  a student.

Thank you for all your support.

EBSI (UK) Ltd attend the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

Jamela Khan and Lynette Webb – were duly invited to attend the Queens Garden party this year at Buckingham Palace on 21st May 2019.  The two members of staff attended the event, on what turned out to be a very nice warm summer afternoon.  Jamela had been recognised for all her work towards the local community and the work of EBSI (UK) Ltd.  Jamela felt it only right that Lynette Webb – Operations Manager, who has, been instrumental in the work of EBSI (UK) Ltd for over 18 years, and in working with the schools community should join her on this special occasion.

The two set off for the day and had a fabulous time, mingling with people from different community groups who had also been recognised for their contribution and invited to the Palace.  They spent the day eating sandwiches, scrumptious cakes and of course drank tea or Iced coffee in the large marquees which served refreshments all afternoon and finished off the afternoon with an ice cream.

Lynette Webb and Jamela Khan at the Queens Garden Party
Jamela Khan and Lynette Webb at the Queens Garden Party

Did you know?

Over the course of each year, The Queen welcomes over 30,000 guests to spend a relaxed summer afternoon in the beautiful gardens of Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Holyrood House. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed! Garden Parties are an important way for The Queen to speak to a broad range of people from all walks of life, all of whom have made a positive impact in their community.

Who is invited to a Garden Party?

Every summer, The Queen hosts three Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace, and one at the Palace of Holyrood House in Scotland. Historically, Garden Parties took the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes and have evolved into a way of recognising and rewarding public service.  

Throughout the country, a long-established network of sponsors is used to invite guests, who include Lord-Lieutenants, Societies and Associations, Government Departments, Local Government, the Services, the Church and other Faiths.  They nominate guests for invitation and hope in this way to achieve a representative cross section of the community.  It is not possible to acquire invitations to The Queen’s Garden Parties through direct application to Buckingham Palace. 

What happens at a Garden Party?

Watch the link

EBSI Primary and Secondary School Enterprise Challenges At Brunel University

EBSI had a great day working on the Brunel University Campus delivering two great events on behalf of Brunel University, who invite students from local schools every year to participate in these events.  The aim of the event is to widen participation and encourage students from low social-economic backgrounds to inspire to attend university.   The students not only spent the day planning and designing their product, they also got to go along to the University’s canteen to purchase their lunch with a voucher which was supplied and sat alongside the universities students to then enjoy their first university luncheon experience. 

On Friday 30th November 2018, Les Prior EBSI Project Officer worked alongside Gloria Cheng to deliver the Year 6 “If the Shoe fits Challenge”, which saw over 30 primary students from 6 schools attend the event.  The primary students were helped by Kyle and Chloe, two Student Ambassadors from Brunel.

On Tuesday 11th December 2018, Les was back in action working alongside Brunel’s Ambassadors as 40 Year 7 secondary school students from 4 schools took part in the Mini Van Challenge, and were joined by Brunel Ambassadors Naomi, Ali and Medina who provided a helping hand on the day.      

Both events are focused on giving primary students the opportunity to compete, but more importantly to learn about team work, finance in business, marketing products and how to be an Entrepreneur.

Feedback from the events

Gloria Cheng – Widening Access Officer from Brunel University stated “The events have been a great success and students really enjoyed themselves throughout the day. It was really lovely to see how engaged students were and how well they have worked together. They kept their cool and worked effortlessly, even when our ambassadors acting as buyers were being extra critical!”.

“Well organised, students seemed like they enjoyed themselves and I hope they have learnt something, thank you”.

“Thank you, a fantastic event for pupils to learn and have fun in a really safe environment”.

Brunel Ambassadors negotiating with students in the marketplace.
Brunel Ambassadors listening to student pitches in the marketplace.
Students designing their products and working on their pitches.

EMPLOYMENT FOR ALL ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ 15th November 2018

EBSI were invited to work alongside the High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Graham Barker to host a conference called EMPLOYMENT FOR ALL – Breaking Down Barriers in November 2018.

The conference was intended to bring together companies who could demonstrate how social value delivers commercial value.  Speakers from Manpower Group, Argos, Recycling Lives and John Lewis and Partners, were in attendance and gave presentations with examples of business cases to illustrate how offering employment to those with a disability and ex-offenders can improve business practice.  Leonard Cheshire Chief Executive – Neil Heslop OBE, also spoke about working with the loss of his eye sight at a very young age and explained how he had not let his disability hinder his progress.

Spring Hill Prison also attended, and two ex-offenders delivered presentations explaining how going into employment when coming out of prison had changed their lives.

All business speakers gave an insight into how their companies, had or were in the process of embedding this element into their Corporate Social Responsibility within business practice and processes and were now reaping the benefits.  

The conference which was held at the Odney Club conference centre, which is run by John Lewis and Partners, in Cookham, saw over 60 attendees from companies from not only Berkshire, but national companies from further afield.

There was also an opportunity for the businesses to network with other likeminded leaders that are interested in finding out how diversity and equality adds value into their business, as well as the opportunity to approach charities who had stands at the conference to discuss how they can start the process.

The High Sheriff had instigated the conference as he stated “it is clear to me that organisations can derive so many advantages from embedding social value in business and I am keen to encourage more companies to benefit from this enlightened approach”.

EBSI Director – Jamela Khan approached many of the companies that we work with to invite them to attend the events.  Companies such as Marriott International, Metro Bank, Heathrow, British Airways, Costain and other key players attended the event which saw over 60 businesses in attendance, with feedback stating they would like further opportunities like this to network, build on their businesses own Corporate Social Responsibility agenda and share good practice to help move their companies forward to look at the employment of ex-offenders and those with disabilities.   

An audience of over 60 attendees were at the event.
Richard Elliott Manpower Group – Speaker.
Ian Heslop OBE – Chief Executive Leonard Cheshire and Trevor Ferguson – Chief Fire Office RBFRS both spoke at the Conference.
High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Graham Barker who hosted the event.
Jamela Khan – EBSI Director, Alan Coates and High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Graham Barker.
Charities were also available at hand for companies to approach for information.
Businesses had a great opportunity to network with each other in the course of the afternoon.


Jamela Khan and Lynette Webb from EBSI (UK) LTD travelled to Ireland to attend CMETB’s Multiplier Event and the final GYIT Partnership Meeting in Ireland on the 27/11/17 and 28/11/17.

On 27/11/17 Jamela and Lynette visited The Monaghan Institute Education Campus for a Multiplier Event which included a TECH Day and the Launch of the GYIT Career Guidance Pack.   The packs were distributed to 96 students and 8 teachers that attended the event.  The Tech Day proved to be very exciting for the students, as the morning started with John Kearney CEO from Cavan And Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) welcoming everyone to the event.

Students were then introduced to guest speaker and Tech Innovator Colin Guilfoyle CEO  from Nebula Interactive a mobile games company who gave the students an insight into his career pathway into IT and then into the games Industry, he encouraged the students to use the resources available to them to start working on developing their own computer games.   The students who attended from various schools in Monaghan then went onto compete in challenges, such as an IT quiz, Social Media quiz and then finally the Innovation Challenge in which the students had to design a mobile app for their school.   Jamela Khan and Colin Guilfoyle found it to be a difficult task to judge the innovative and exciting ideas that the students presented at the end of the day.  The winning teams won some great technical equipment for their schools, such as a Drone, VR Headsets and Robots.

Martina Rooney – Project Lead on GYIT for CMETB organised a great day, and everyone that attended felt the day had been a great success.

Edel Hesnan – Project Lead on GYIT for FIT also had an event in Dublin which once again saw nearly 100 students attend and take part in an interactive day.  Students and teachers at this event were also able to take away a copy the Careers Guidance Pack and were made aware of the other GYIT resources which are now available for all students, teachers and careers advisors across Europe to use via the GYIT website.

On 28/11/17 all partners attended the final meeting of the  GYIT Project which was held at FIT`s office in Dublin.  Although the project comes to an end in December 2017, the resources are still available for teachers or students to access on the GYIT website.

Martina Rooney – Project Lead on GYIT for CMETB

Colin Guilfoyle CEO from Nebula Interactive on the left and Paddy Flood CMETB Director of Schools on the right.