All Together Edinburgh

All Together Edinburgh is a social enterprise with charitable status. It was set up in 2010 after recognising that there were very few training opportunities for people with learning disabilities to work in a customer-facing environment.

Their mission is to “create training and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities,” and it is committed to helping people improve their chances of moving into employment.

All Together Edinburgh wanted to create more training and employment opportunities and to deliver not only basic work and employability skills, improve confidence and self-esteem, but to deliver a quality, practical, accredited, retail training program which would provide a recognised qualification.

Their charity shop in the Leith area of the city offers a practical learning environment that facilitates learning, opportunities to improve confidence, work and people skills that are required in the mainstream labour market.

They decided that the training would be best delivered in a charity shop and they opened their first shop in June 2011. The charity shop is an ideal practical setting to learn an array of skills relevant to the retail field, while also providing a useful source of funding for the charity.

It also gives the trainee an opportunity to interact with the public and to increase awareness of people with learning disabilities. This is a unique enterprise and is the first of its kind in Scotland!

Their charity shop/stock collection operation creates a learning environment where service users are trained and assessed through a nationally recognised skills accredited programme from Borders College.

This programme is called the Ready for Retail Award and is certified by NCFE. The Awards are on the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at levels 1 and 2. To complete the full award candidates must achieve 5 units. These will include Basic Work Skills, Customer Care, Health and Safety, Recycling, Interview Techniques and optional units in Stock Display and Operating a Cash Register. Candidates can also be accredited for individual units.

The programme normally takes a year to complete but this is dependent on the service user’s needs and capabilities and there will be a certain degree of flexibility on the timescale. SCQF Level 1 candidates may have support to achieve the learning outcomes. Staff at the retail outlet carry out the training and assessments and are themselves trained and supported by a Borders College training consultant.

Every candidate will have a completed portfolio including photographic evidence. This is a valuable testament to their achievements and may be used at job interviews, as a tool for working or further developing their skills or moving onto college or employment. It also may be used as a means of communicating their skills to family and friends.

For further info, contact:

All Together Edinburgh

87 Leith Walk