A key objective of the charity is Education.
The Foundation established the Weald Academy in 2010 to strengthen our commitment to the Trust’s stated education aims. The Academy's purpose is to utilise the collection for the benefit of the wider community through the running of education and training programmes based at the workshops.
Youth and Military History Project
The Weald Foundation has been working alongside our partner Juvenile Justice International CIC, through funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Over the past 16 months we have delivered an exciting project involving young people from Kent. Our partnership with the HLF has enabled us to help young people to understand and engage with the history of the First and Second World Wars, the two defining conflicts of the 20th Century. The young people between 11 to 25 years old learned both theory and practical skills and all received a certificate of course completion. Over the past 16 months we have delivered this popular project to 138 young people from Kent.
- The project included visits to the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, London, the Women’s Land Army Museum in Dover and our facilities in Kent, where they were taken through the workshops and collection ending with the opportunity to watch and ride in historic military vehicles.
Please contact us should you require a DVD providing an in depth insight into this successful project.
DWP Development Program
This initiative is delivered in partnership with Juvenile Justice International CIC and the Department of Work and Pensions providing interventions and educational programmes for young disadvantaged people across London Boroughs.
These courses are classroom based, but involve regular visits to our facilities. Here the young people are given an opportunity to experience first-hand our working environment, meet staff and see the restoration process in action. Our aims for this project are to:
- Encourage people to contribute to their communities through team work.
- Provide people with opportunities for personal development and encourage self-discipline, self-respect, self-confidence and enable them to communicate more effectively.
- To bring people from different geographical and ethnic backgrounds together in a structured, supportive environment and to help break down barriers and create change.
- Re-engage people with education, employment or training and help them to gain skills.
Apprenticeships and Further Education
Our apprenticeship programme started in 2011 with a view to expanding the number of young people with the requisite skills and knowledge in heritage engineering. Apprentices have elected to study Mechanical Engineering, Fabrication and Welding and IT Infrastructure, Networking and website design. We have been very flexible in providing packages suitable for each youngster yet maintaining a course regime that stays true to Foundation requirements.
Our IT apprentice has completed a level 3 apprenticeship entitled IT Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals.This has given her a wide range of skills in a variety of subjects: allowing her to study Computer Systems, where she was able to learn the architecture of PCs and website production, which taught her the process of designing and building a website. These along with her other units will give this student a wealth of knowledge in the IT sector from which she will be able to draw from in the future. This student has also studied Auto CAD with us here at the Foundation, passing both level 2 and 3 2D. Whilst learning CAD she has been able to assist on projects within the Foundation giving her unique hands on Auto CAD experience.
Our students have all found promising placements upon completion of their time with us. Two of our recent students achieved distinctions for their college coursework. One was a volunteer from our work with Kent Probation who stayed on with us after his sentence was completed. He achieved a Level 2 in Performing Engineering Operations with Distinction from a local college. Another apprentice last year completed an intermediate level apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture - operator and semi skilled in fabrication and welding . Within this apprenticeship he gained an NVQ diploma in fabrication and welding and a diploma in engineering. He has since found full time work and further training in a large heavy fabrication firm in Kent
We recently had a student taking a Higher National Diploma (Foundation Degree) in Mechanical Engineering. He has completed his first year covering advanced mathematics and physics with subjects such as trigonometry, integration and differentiation. He has also covered instrumentation and control systems, which involves learning all of the processes behind the tools he is using within the workshop. All of these subjects together with practical experience in a workshop over the next three years will give him the knowledge he needs to become a successful engineer.
We have had significant success in identifying potential candidates for our apprenticeship program through providing internships to keen individuals.
The Rugmer Project
Established in 2009, this project ran under the auspices of the Weald Academy. The Project was a Community Payback and Offender redirection project run in conjunction with Kent Probation Service. The project aimed to improve offender literacy and numeracy skills and provide community pay back through the restoration and exhibition of the collection’s vehicles. It built on the award winning success of the Dorset Probation Service project with Bovington Tank Museum.
Over 66 offenders benefited from the education programme, generating 122 level 1 and 2 literacy and numeracy awards and 15 NVQ level 1 engineering qualifications. Re-offending rates ran at 3%. This compares to a national average of 61%. Attendance rates were 85%. 7 offenders secured employment during their time with the Foundation.
In 2010 the project was awarded the prestigious national unpaid work award by the Howard League for Penal Reform.