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College? ‘Pizza’ cake for Kelesie after B Block work experience

A work experience programme at B Block pizzeria is helping young adults with special educational needs prepare for life after leaving school.

Kelesie (19) is a student at Warmley Park School and has been working at B Block once a week as part of a collaborative Work Experience programme.

Today is Kelesie’s last day at B Block. In September, she’s starting college in Stroud and is feeling a little bit nervous about it. She’ll be taking the bus there and back each day from her home in Bristol.

Front of House Supervisor, Courtney reminds Kelesie how far she’s come since she first arrived at B Block five months ago. She was nervous then. And shy and worried about being around too many people.

Now she can set up the restaurant in Somer Dining by herself for the lunchtime service. She can put deliveries away, rotate the stock and serve lunch to the residents from The Chocolate Quarter retirement village.

All of the staff at B Block have made us feel very welcome. Nothing has been too much trouble and they’ve all supported Kelesie in every way possible.

Service with a smile

Kelesie makes the residents smile and they always ask after her when she’s not there. She also helps clear the tables in B Block throughout the day, takes drinks orders and has the makings of being a proper barista, one day.

To celebrate her last day, she cooked herself a Margherita pizza in the wood-fired oven and had a glass of her favourite squash. She teased Chris the pizza by chef by calling his fancy tomato sauce for the base ‘ketchup’. Chris makes her laugh and once Kelesie starts giggling, she can’t stop.

Kelesie said: “Working at B Block is fun. I like making pizzas best. I like making coffee but not drinking it.

"The residents are nice. It’s fun working with Courtney. I like joking with Jack.

"I’d like to come back to drink squash and have a pizza. Thank you so much for having me.”

"The residents and customers lover her"

Courtney has worked closely with Kelesie throughout her work experience at B Block.

Courtney said: “The residents and customers love her. They have seen how she’s gone from standing at the bar looking worried when she first started, to confidently taking their orders and serving them their meals and drinks.

“Kelesie’s told me she’s nervous about starting college, so on behalf of everyone at B Block and Somer Dining we’d like to wish her ‘good luck’.

"Once she’s there and she gets into a routine, we know she’ll enjoy herself and fit right in – just as she did at B Block.”

Building confidence

The work experience programme is a three-way partnership between Warmley Park School, Bristol Bears Community Foundation and the St Monica Trust, and generously supported by grant giving organisation The Ciao Foundation.

Kelesie’s Support Assistant, Claire said: “The work experience programme is all about building confidence, independence and social skills to prepare pupils for leaving school, possibly having a job or, like Kelesie, going to college.

“Kelesie is a very able young person, but is hindered by being shy and withdrawn. Since coming to B Block it’s amazing to see how she’s gained so much independence and confidence.

“All of the staff at B Block have made us feel very welcome. Nothing has been too much trouble and they’ve all supported Kelesie in every way possible. It’s been an amazing experience and I would want to work here myself!”

You can find out more about Warmley Park and Bristol Bears’ Work Experience Programme by emailing or calling 01454 867272.

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