Parents FAQMatching skills and areas of difficulty with sustainable, fulfilling job opportunities
We know this is a big step for many families and we want to help ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. We truly believe there is a future and rewarding employment for everyone, and whilst that may look different for each person, it is our job to match skills and areas of difficulty with sustainable, fulfilling job opportunities. If there is anything not covered in our parent FAQ, please send us an email.
What is vocational training?
Vocational training is a mixture of hands-on and theory based learning. It prepares learners for the future and for certain employment pathways. At Steps, it also ensures learners can self-advocate, problem solve, work as part of a team and become independent. Vocational training works as a connecting link between theoretical education and the real working environment.
How do I know if my family member is ready for an employability programme?
We take trainees from aged 14 and we know that regardless of age, some just aren’t ready, but what’s important is that they are on a vocational pathway and begin to experience work in a supportive environment. Their confidence, self-esteem and skill set grows quickly and they begin to explore the future at a pace that suits them.
My family member is academic, I'm worried they won't be stretched in a programme like this.
Our UK accredited curriculums, have a diverse range of programmes which can cater to more academic trainees. We also run BTEC which is a higher-level qualification that has a university pathway and that can be run alongside IB. In the case where ASDAN and BTEC are not suitable then we are flexible to create something that engages the trainee and supports them to develop. The vast majority of our trainees are on individual programmes because they deserve to reach their potential in a way that best supports their learning style.
So are you a school or a restaurant?
We are a vocational training centre. That means we have classrooms and therapy rooms as well as real work environments including our coffee shop and cafe, office, an art studio. Trainees spend time in the training centre as well as in the work environment and the amount of time is calculated by their age, pathway and interests. When they are ready, some trainees attend internships and work placements at our partner companies.
My family member isn't interested in cooking or the hospitality industry.
Around half of our trainees aren’t interested in this industry but we utilise the coffee shop and kitchen downstairs as a platform to learn transferable skills such as communication, interaction, following instructions and problem solving. The trainees are all happy with this as they don’t see it as the purpose of them coming to ‘work’ every day. They may spend the rest of the day working in the office, learning to code a website, doing marketing or creating designs for t-shirts to be sold in our online shop. We link employability with their skills, with the goal of making it both sustainable and fulfilling.
I want my family member to have qualifications that are recognised here in Thailand.
We understand that which is why we are working towards having ASDAN available in Thai and we are working with the Ministry of Education to have ASDAN in English accredited here. In some cases, we ask parents to look at the bigger picture and think whether qualifications are necessary for their child’s pathway. Steps has 8 partner companies who agree to giving work placements to our graduates which fast tracks them into employment, without qualifications. On the job training can often be just as valuable and is linked with better self-esteem and confidence.
How does it work if I want to try it out first?
All new trainees do a free trial day but if you need more time, we ask that you commit to a month of the programme at the end of which we will give an honest answer of whether we can support your family member and we will share targets that we will be working towards.
How long does my family member need to stay in the programme?
This depends on each child’s individual strengths and challenges but for those over 18, we endeavour to have them work ready in 12-18 months.
I don't want my family member to work somewhere else before/after they graduate, can they work with you?
In this case, we will always try our best to employ in house though as with any company, we have a capacity. Where possible, we create roles that can offer viable employment for our trainees. Between our 3 coffee shops, office, an art studio partnership, we do have paid employment opportunities available.
I don't want my family member to come full time, can they come part time?
Again, this is dependent on the learner. For some, part-time alongside mainstream school works well, for others they really need to be with us full time to benefit.
My family member is considered ‘low functioning’, will they be able to access a programme like this?
We believe everyone has the ability to do something fulfilling and needed. What might be considered boring to some could be extremely satisfying for others. From stamping envelopes and packing boxes to writing blogs for our website and doing accounting, there is always a way to tap into realistic capabilities and sustainable job opportunities.
My family member isn't special needs but has mental health problems/benefits from a less academic route, how would it work with them joining Steps?
The same as everyone else, they would get an individual programme. As a team, we see the trainees we need to push hard and we also see the ones who need a softer approach. By having a capacity of 30 trainees, we have both the staffing and time to see everyone as an individual and build effective relationships with our trainees. Where appropriate, we bring the whole team of trainees together for certain sessions such as soft skills or communication. It’s so busy with everyone’s personal projects and pathways that they may only see each other during breaks, just like a regular workplace. The mix of special needs and non-special needs is beneficial on both sides.
What does an average day at Steps look like?
It looks different depending on where you’re standing! Most days, the trainees come down to open the coffee shop which involves completing a whole host of tasks. After that, they branch off into their specific departments, perhaps with a yoga session to begin with or an art therapy session. There’s a great deal of flexibility and choice as that’s exactly what they deserve and need to grow.
Do you have more questions?
Please feel free to contact us for further questions.