Work Placement Brings Benefits For Wyvern Student

Tom Sherred work exp at Abbotsbury

Published at 10:17am 13th March 2015.

Wyvern Academy sixth form student Tom Sherred ended up learning about more than horticulture when he undertook work experience at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset.

Wyvern Academy sixth form student Tom Sherred ended up learning about more than horticulture when he undertook work experience at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Weymouth, Dorset.

However, six months on, the 17-year-old student is now able to work on his own - and he has not only improved his gardening skills, but he has developed as a young man ready for the world of work.

Tom, who has been at Wyvern Academy since he was aged eight, has been working one day a week at the gardens since September.

He was initially supported by Steve White, work-related learning co-ordinator at Weymouth-based Wyvern Academy, who arranged the placement for him.

“He has definitely grown in confidence over the past six months,” said Steve White. “When Tom started work experience he was quite a shy character, but being in a real work environment has helped him to become more self-assured.

“He has come out of his shell, and it is very much thanks to Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens for giving Tom the opportunity to be in a real work environment, and also thanks to the assistant head gardener Tim Newman and his colleagues for making Tom so welcome.”

Tim Newman said: “When Tom came to us he had a broad knowledge of gardening, but working as part of a team was new to him.

“During his time with us Tom has integrated well with the team, developed his horticultural knowledge, and has progressed into undertaking regular tasks in the gardens. He is very enthusiastic, and I know I can leave him to do something and it will be done.”


Tom said: “I’ve had a wonderful time with some beautiful people that have taught me lots and lots. I have been learning the names of the plants, a few each week and have got good at this. I am really grateful for what Tim, Steve and everyone has done for me at Abbotsbury.”

Wyvern Academy is a purpose-built school for children and young people up to the age of 19 with complex needs, including autistic spectrum disorder. It provides highly-individualised educations, which includes opportunities for sixth-form students to experience the world of work.