On Wednesday 10th May 2017 St. John’s School and College hosted the 7th Learner Voice Conference (LVC) at The Jury’s Inn Waterfront.
The event that takes place every year in Brighton is an opportunity for local and further reaching businesses to showcase their work and develop opportunities with the 100+ learning disabled pupils at St. John’s.
The event had a variety of corporate and third sector organisations with colourful, interactive stalls that pupils could visit throughout the 6 hour event to gather information and employment opportunities.
Attendees included; Brighton & Hove Libraries, Carousel, Farm Buddies, Fitness Hub, Gig Buddies, Heatventure, Lewes Football Club, Mixology, Office Team, Possability People, Rocket Artists, Small Batch, Speak Out, Spiral, Supported Employment, The Dogs Trust and The Theatre Royal Brighton.
The day began with an inspirational introduction from St. John’s CEO & Principal, Mr Simon Charleton and Guest Speaker, Mr Daniel Wakeford, known for his music career and appearances on Channel 4 TV show, The Undateables.
This was followed by talks, presentations and performances from St. John’s pupils on their aspirations to find work; culminating in a rousing speech from Chris Pavia, a disabled dance choreographer, who detailed his journey into fame and finding work doing something he loves.
As well as promoting employability and work skills for disabled people the day empowered pupils to travel independently with the support of Brighton & Hove buses who helped facilitate a simulated bus journey from Brighton town centre to St. John’s College on Walpole Road.
It was a busy and exciting day with the support of so many businesses as the event had its largest attendance yet including support from The Mayor of Brighton and Hove who met with pupils throughout the day.
Lucy Howells, St. John’s Enterprise Manager and organiser of the LVC, said “We cannot thank the participating businesses enough…they have helped open so many doors and employability avenues for our wonderful learners. It’s so hard for these young people to find work but the inspiration and dedication of everyone involved shows that there are amazing opportunities for learning disabled people out there and they are willing to work with us to make people’s job goals and aspirations come true.”
The event will return in May 2018 as St. John’s continues to find more businesses willing to support their work with donations and work placements for their pupils.