Students with complex learning needs from Ivel Valley School, a special needs school in Biggleswade, have spent a day with Servest at the Sainsbury’s distribution centre in Bedford on a behind the scenes tour.
Facilities management service provider Servest has been delivering cleaning and catering services to the DHL-operated Sainsbury’s clothing distribution centre since October 2013, and has developed a strong working relationship with the site.
The school visit came about after Dean Hawkins, Servest Site Manager, was askedby his wife, who teaches at the school, if students could visit the site to learn more about the workings of retailers in the community. The boys and girls, ranging in age from 13 to 16, have varying levels of special needs including autism, Down’s syndrome, Tourette’s, Asperger’s and behavioural conditions.
On 16th January, Dean welcomed on site 14 students and four teaching staff. They were introduced to the general manager, Steve Henshaw, and other senior site managers, were given a tour of the facilities, got to see the high reach forklifts in operation in the warehouse, got a guided tour of the clothing automation process,and learned about the importance of hygiene and recycling in the operation.
The tour ended in the canteen with the group tucking into a feast of burgers, nuggets, chips and refreshments, laid on by 7 Day Catering, part of the Servest Group, and the students being presented with certificates of attendance.
“Despite the students having their own personal difficulties, their behaviour and attitude were impeccable and they left a lasting impression on all the staff who weredirectly or indirectly involved,” said Dean Hawkins, Servest Site Manager. “The visit was a resounding success, and discussions are already underway about Servest and the Sainsbury’s DHL site hosting more students from the school in the future”.