About Us News Vocational Skills Dame Stephanie Shirley, Founding Patron, businesswoman, philanthropist and winner of the 2016 Institute of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award, joined staff, trustees and students on 22 November to open the new Vocational Skills Workshop at Prior’s Court. The workshop has been created to provide a specialist, hands-on environment where all 60 students and 20 young adults, all of whom have autism and learning difficulties, can learn skills such as woodwork, metal work, general tool work and the maintenance of bicycles and scooters. The Vocational Skills Workshop is the first step in an ambitious programme of development to expand the range of vocational skills that our young people can practice on-site before progressing to offsite, real-life work placements in the community. For example, several students have practiced their new bricklaying skills in the workshop before working alongside professional bricklayers to build a wall on the site of our new residential development. The new workshop also promotes the development of fine and gross motor skills, supports choice-making through the wide range of hands-on, motivational activities and provides opportunities to achieve recognised qualifications (ASDAN awards) relating to the skills learnt. Thank you to the donors whose generosity raised £31,000 to enable us to develop the Vocational Skills Workshop.