By Max Simpson, Steps Co-founder
“Another training centre? Outside of Bangkok? Sure, why not!”
That was pretty much how the conversation went when we decided to set up another vocational training centre.
Fortunately, there is a little more depth to the story to warrant such a big step! We had been working with schools and families based in Phuket. Again and again we were made aware of the lack of services available for learners who are not best suited to the IB or iGCSE programmes. We hear this story a lot and it is one of the many reasons the original Steps in Bangkok first opened.
Then we had a trainee from Phuket who had to relocate to join our programme in Bangkok. Her name is Nakita and as you will learn, none of this would have happened without her and her amazing family.
Nakita thrived at our Bangkok vocational centre. We have gone from the shy young teen who first joined us to the dancing waitress who serves your drinks with the confidence of a pro. Nakita’s family had always dreamed of one day opening a small coffee shop for her to run, securing a future where she could be independent and put her skills to work. Beyond securing Nakita’s future, they wanted to be able to offer employment opportunities for other adults with learning differences too. They came to talk to us about opening a coffee shop for her in Phuket and it just felt like it would be the ultimate setup if we had a vocational training centre there too. It works so well in Bangkok and our graduates are transitioning into paid employment in such a range of industries that we want to replicate it.
Fast forward through the headaches of renovation (well most of them!) and we now have a sparkly new vocational training centre which has been open since June, a zero waste shop due to open next month, and a coffee shop called Steps with Nakita, due to open in October. Our wonderful centre manager Stacey is also an Occupational Therapist and has already started working with school aged
children as well as running our teens and adult programme.
None of this would have been possible without Nakita and her family. We are so excited to take these next Steps together and bring the Phuket community the opportunity to see inclusive workplaces, enjoy tasty comfort food and environmentally friendly products, and have your coffee served by the dancing waitress!
For more information about our vocational training programme or therapy, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To see our menu for Steps with Nakita: watch this space!