Our participants have enjoyed experimenting with the new learning methods, equipment and services we have been able to provide since our successful application of the Karten application in September 2019. We have been privileged to be able to purchase an Epson wide format printer, height adjustable desks, a Tajima Sai embroidery machine, sewing Machine, semi-automatic creaser, a projector, a screen to project onto, iPad pro air tablets with keyboards and iPad arms so we can connect them to the participants desks. All of this equipment has significantly improved the learning experience for our participants as well as the range of services available to our customers.
Impact of Orchardville Works Karten Centre on our participants
Orchardville Works is a Social Enterprise of Orchardville, a charity organisation that believes that with the right support anyone with a learning disability or autism can reach their employment aspirations. In total we support over 500 adults with learning disability or autism in Northern Ireland. Our main employment project is called Ignite2, each Participant that joins Orchardville follows a journey to help them achieve their goals by developing personal, social and employability skills.
Some participants feel ready to head straight to paid employment with the support of their appointed employment officer, others feel they need some more time to develop their skills further. Fortunately, we can provide on the job work experience in a safe and supported environment. Orchardville currently has 5 Social Enterprises (3 x cafes across Belfast, Orchardville Cleans & Orchardville Works)
To enable work experience at Orchardville Works (OW), we take in live jobs from customers which can range from goodie bag packing, fulfilling mail, digital printing, wide format printing, t-shirt printing and embroidery. We employ four Vocational mentors who provide individual training and support where required to enable our participants to progress and develop their skills.
With a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency, OW provides training experience across a variety of tasks for up to 60 participants weekly. OW has built on its core printing and packing activities to successfully launch new products including natural linen scarves, sold online and in store, which are fringed and packaged by our participants. In addition, a new embroidery machine has enhanced our branded uniform offering, providing more diverse work experience and training for participants. OW fulfils printing and hand packing orders for more than 100 customers annually, with a 25% rise in new customer relationships in 2019/20 as a result of the Karten equipment.
As a result of the successful Karten application and the newly purchased embroidery machine we have been able to work with a wider customer base by offering branded workwear. Some of our new customers in this area include The Ulster Flying Club, Rex Detailing and PWC.
Many of our participants have expressed an interest in learning how to use the machine. Owen Galbraith has been attending OW since March 2018 and has been working hard to develop his employability skills. At Orchardville Works we encourage all our participants to learn the importance of punctuality, attention to detail and quality control, wearing a uniform and working as part of a team. Over the past two years Owen has made significant progress in these areas and has been successful in gaining external paid employment as an admin assistant. Owen has remained with us at Orchardville Works and continues to develop his skills further, each week he attends he is becoming more enthusiastic about attempting new tasks and challenges, most recently Owen has been working on the embroidery machine helping to produce the Black Santa hats for PWC.
Belfast’s Black Santa Sit-Out charity appeal
Each December, thousands of visitors come to the steps of Belfast’s St Anne’s Cathedral and donate money to the Sit-Out fund, which almost 200 charities across Northern Ireland benefit from.
This year due to Covid-19 restrictions, the campaign was instead promoted across social media and the Sit-Out’s brand new website.
The beanie hats produced by Orchardville Works are not only a fantastic brand recognition for Orchardville but it also provides Owen with purposeful activity while he is training with us.
Our participants have continued to use the tablets provided by Karten, for video learning techniques, it has been invaluable at providing an alternative method of communicating a task from the vocational mentor to the participant.
Video learning techniques
Darren can be seen here using the video learning technique to assemble a packaging box for Tayto.
We have also been able to provide online ecommerce as a result of the wide format machine, this is a new and exciting area for Orchardville Works and the team have enjoyed being part of the process by wrapping the canvas, packaging and despatch.
The funding and equipment supplied by Karten Network has been invaluable to Orchardville Works in many ways, it has helped us move forward into new market areas as well as providing additional learning experiences for the participants attending. We have been able to connect with new customers that we couldn’t before as we can offer more services.
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- This article was written by the Orchardville Society, Orchardville Business Centre Karten Centre
- Featured in the Karten January 2021 Newsletter
- This article is listed in the following subject areas: Case Study, Centre News