Unique Community pop-up shop enhances students’ prospects

A group of 16-19 year olds with learning difficulties and disabilities are successfully rising to the challenge of running their own pop-up community shop while studying for retail qualifications within Quayside MediaCity.

It’s the first time, sixth form students from Oakwood Academy Sixth Form and The Excell Hub – a provision for young adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), based in MediaCity’s University Technical College (UTC), have been given the unique opportunity to create their own store and learn practical skills in a retail setting.

With supervision from their teachers and support workers the students have created a thriving pop-up, packed full of donations from clothing, shoes, accessories, toys to hidden gems. The students who rotate on a daily basis, prepare stock, merchandise the store, serve customers as well as create bespoke products while also studying for professional retail qualifications within its in-store classroom.

Liz Cappel, Head of Oakwood Academy said: “This shop provides fabulous advantages for each of our SEND students and young adults. Gaining hands on work experience can prove a little difficult for many of our students and the Community shop helps to remove this unwelcome barrier. We’ve been so inspired by what the young people have achieved. They’re engaged and passionate about making the store a success and the whole experience has helped boost their self-esteem and confidence.”

Oakwood Academy, Year 13 student Jacob Hawkins, from Swinton said:

“Working in the shop is really entertaining. It’s fun to learn new skills and I love interacting with customers. It’s really boosted my confidence and I’m now looking to work in retail when I finish college.”

Stephen Wild, MediaCity Managing Director added: “To be able to give the students of Oakwood Academy this opportunity has been really rewarding for the Quayside team. To see the store and students flourish in such way has inspired us all as well as the generosity of family, friends and locals who have donated many quality items.”

All money raised in the shop contributes towards financing projects, social events and investing in productive enterprising equipment to be used in the shop.

Open Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.

Related stories