An independent specialist college in Ramsgate that provides training to prepare young people with high needs for the world of employment has held a graduation event to celebrate the achievements of its learners.
Liberty Training, based in Albert Street, helps young people aged 16-25 with a range of needs from autism spectrum disorder to oppositional behaviour disorder.
Many learners have found previous education settings challenging and have not previously been able to thrive. At Liberty a combination of activities, hands-on learning and unique teaching methods help young people to progress.
An Ofsted report published this year rated the college as good. At the time of the inspection there were 63 learners, 45 in Year 1 and 18 in Year 2. Learners study a qualification in employment, functional skills in English and mathematics and undertake work experience as part of their programmes.
This month Liberty Training held their biggest graduation to date to celebrate the achievements of their young people. They took over Turner Contemporary for the event and were joined by Ramsgate mayor Cllr Raushan Ara.
After a drinks reception and buffet the learners, their friends and families sat down to watch a montage of the past year in photos. This was followed by some moving speeches from learners detailing how they’d grown and developed at Liberty, despite various personal difficulties.
The staff added to the emotion while introducing the awards and shared funny and touching stories of the past year.
The finale of the evening was the announcement of the Honorary Award given to someone each year for overcoming obstacles.
This year, the award went to a young woman who, after unexpectedly becoming a wheelchair user, worked tirelessly to achieve her goals. She sadly couldn’t attend as she was receiving therapy that may help with her mobility in the future.
The evening wrapped up with a heart-warming speech and the handing out of celebratory gifts.
Liberty Training also had a whole college trip to sign a book of condolences before Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
A staff member said: “It was a really moving day and a great opportunity to explore British values and come together. As a SEN (Special educational needs) college, this type of trip is really important.”
Liberty Training was set up some nine years ago by couple Michelle Smith and Jojo Rassekh.
Michelle and former firefighter and care worker JoJo set up the training venue, which is officially recognised as a contracted provider by Kent County Council, and have helped hundreds of young people to develop confidence, skills and get into the workplace.