What do Trainees do at Spadework?

Trainees come to Spadework for lots of different reasons. Some people will want to develop their personal skills or perhaps learn specific work skills to help them find a job, others will want to get out of the house and do something different and interesting or just to meet people and make new friends. For some it might be a combination of all of these things.

There are lots of different jobs you can do.   You will tell us about your interests and what you hope to learn and we will help you to decide what jobs you might like to try.

We can offer activities in:

  • Farm Shop
  • Café
  • Garden Centre
  • Plant nursery
  • Gardening Team
  • Local Food , growing fruit, vegetables and flowers for sale.
  • Woodwork
  • Art and Craft
  • IT

We will always try to place people in the areas they would like to work, but sometimes we can’t do this straight away. If this is the case, we will put them on a waiting list and when we next change the rota, they will hopefully be able to have a turn.

We asked Trainees what they like about Spadework and here are some of their responses:

  • I like woodwork and working in the top polytunnel. I like working as a team, I like making friends. – RR
  • I like meeting people and socialising. I like people from outside to meet people with learning difficulties. – SS
  • When I first came I didn’t know how to do anything, but now I can work in the potting shed and café and on computers. I am getting to like Spadework now as I am getting less nervous. – JH
  • Spadework is good because they are always kind to me and help me do my job better. I have been there for 10 years. – CJ
  • I like being in the café because I like taking orders and serving the customers and helping to make cakes and helping with the washing, drying up and putting away. – KS
  • I like coming to see my friends here. I like helping John with the gardening. – DC
  • I like going to Spadework because it gets me out of the house and I can meet up with the friends I made here at Spadework and from School and College. – EL
  • It has helped me to find out about plants and vegetables, and how to grow and look after them. It also gets me out of the flat and to meet up with friends at work. – CE
  • I like the staff. I like doing computers. I like mowing the lawn. I like doing woodwork. – SI
  • I like woodwork. I like crafts. I like clearing the tables. I like putting out food for the Birds. Spadework has helped me to do the cups and putting the cups away helps me at home. – SG
  • I like coming here on the bus. I like potting plants. – DL
  • Spadework has helped me get a place to live on my own. – KW
  • Spadework has helped me to learn new skills.– AC
  • I have learnt to get back in the kitchen on time and wear my black shoes and wash my hands before I get into the kitchen. – WG
  • I have learnt new skills – timekeeping, gardening and how to work in a shop. – SS
  • I have learned about the different types of vegetables and what season you can start sowing the seeds and when you can harvest them. – KS
  • I think Spadework has helped me build my confidence talking to people and making friends. – PM
  • It has helped me by teaching me new things like woodwork and serving the customers. – JC
  • It has helped me learn how to make coffee and tea with teabags and milk. – LH

Farm Shop

Trainees are able to learn the skills necessary for the day-to-day running of a farm shop, including customer service, housekeeping and stock presentation, food safety, literacy and numeracy skills.

The first thing we do when we open the shop is to make sure the milk and dairy delivery, which usually arrives early, is put in the fridge. Before we do that we have to check the dates of leftover milk and make sure it has not reached its sell by date. Then we label all the bread and put that on the shelves ready to sell. Then we have to do our opening checks, using a probe to check the temperatures of all the fridges. We then check the sell by dates of the chilled meats and cheeses and make sure all the fruit and vegetables are good quality.

During the day, as customers come in we serve them, using the till and pack their shopping into bags.  We have to make sure the shop stays tidy and stock up the shelves as products are bought. When the vegetable delivery comes in we have to put that away in the cold store. We also sometimes have deliveries of meat and cheese, which has to be put in the fridge straight away.

At the end of the day we have to sweep and mop the floor and make sure the shop looks tidy to start the next day.

AM: I enjoy serving customers, using the till and pricing up. I like to meet new people and talking to the Spadework team and customers.

GS: I like helping everyone in the shop and making lists of stock.

PB: I enjoy labelling and sorting out the bread delivery.

AB: I like checking all the fruit and vegetables.

RG: I like the atmosphere in the shop and talking to the customers.


Trainees working in the café will learn about customer service, food hygiene, cooking and table service.

Each weekday starts with Trainees setting the tables and getting the café ready for customers.  Once this job is done, we will help to make cakes and puddings and prep food for lunch time.

Throughout the day, we will take customers’ orders and then serve their food and drinks.  Once customers have finished, we will clear away and clean the table and make sure it is ready for the next person.

There is always lots of washing up and cleaning to do, this is something we know we do really well as we have been awarded, for the third time, 5 stars in the food hygiene ratings.

At the end of the day, we will clear everything away.  We will clean the floors and get things ready for the next day.

Working in the café can be hard work as we can be really busy.  It is nice working as part of a team and talking to customers, some people are regular customers so we know them very well.

KD: I like serving customers and taking their orders, making cakes and making up sandwiches and doing the salads.

MW: I like making cakes best. My favourite ones to make are Scones, as my Dad likes them. I like cutting up and peeling veg. I don’t like washing up, but I sometimes have to do it.

NC: I enjoy making cakes, and washing and drying up. I like mopping the floor and keeping everything tidy. I like peeling carrots and grating them for the coleslaw.

JJ; I like talking to customers and taking their orders.  I like making customers’ drinks and telling them about the cakes I have made.


In the 21st Century, technology may leave many of us behind, but at Spadework, our Trainees enjoy the benefit of well equipped computer rooms.

Here, the Trainees receive expert tuition and quickly become ‘computer literate’, learning basic computer skills as well as improving their hand/eye co-ordination and the skills of literacy and numeracy.

It is the aim of Spadework to provide guidance and supported learning to adults with a range of special needs.

Computer skills, as well as the other disciplines taught at Spadework, give all Trainees a greater opportunity to enable each, where possible, to find employment commensurate with his or her individual abilities.


In the Woodwork Department small groups of Trainees receive instruction from our Woodwork Supervisor ensuring ample opportunities for individual tuition.

The Workshop is equipped to allow a wide range of innovative items to be produced using wood and other materials, emphasis being placed on broadening the Trainees’ skills, knowledge and confidence.

Trainees will have the opportunity to work towards the NPTC Skills for Working Life qualification.

Commissions for bespoke handcrafted products are welcomed from the public at competitive prices.

Developing skills for people with learning difficulties