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Trainee Case Studies
We are extremely proud of our trainee programme and the incredible accomplishments our trainees have made whilst on and following their time at The Makers Gallery & Bistro.
The transferable skills learned on the programme have led to trainees gaining employment in a wide range of areas including retail, customer service, hospitality and in the creative industries. Six of our former trainees became employees of The Makers Gallery & Bistro and Reachout With Arts In Mind.
Maddy Wood
Trainee to Arts Resource Worker & Professional Illustrator
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“I came along to Reachout to become a member and access Reachout studio and was introduced to The Makers Gallery & Bistro.

I started this journey as a gallery trainee with The Makers Gallery and Bistro because I wanted to improve my confidence and learn new skills in Sept 2013."


As a Gallery trainee Maddy learned about stock control, exhibition and events management and hosted workshops for children as part of Easter play schemes.

Maddy was given more and more responsibility until she felt confident enough to apply for the position of Arts Resource Worker for parent charity Reachout with Arts in Mind initially via Community Jobs Scotland Sept 2014, this post was extended by Reachout beyond the short term CJS contract.

She has been working on re-invigorating the Studio and inspiring the members to get involved. She also developed an exciting calendar of creative workshops and kept their social media and website up-to-date.


"My time on the Gallery training programme really prepared me for this job.  I learned how to talk to people from all walks of life. I now feel comfortable interacting with Reachout member’s every day and using my own experience as a Gallery trainee to help them develop and grow. "

Maddy is also a Manga Illustrator, a skill she developed into a business during her time as a gallery trainee. Spending time curating other artists and designers gave her the knowledge to push her artwork to the next level with marketing and branding. As well as exhibiting her work in The Macrobert Centre, Alloa Pop Up Show, 6 Foot Gallery in Glasgow and in The Makers Gallery and Bistro itself Maddy developed a business plan and website which helped her to secure a business loan.

"Since becoming a trainee my confidence has grown a lot. I have reached goals and aims that I didn’t think I could, which has made me feel a lot better about myself.

I decided to become self-employed as an illustrator and I have now achieved this goal"

Maddy aims to be able to work from home full time on her illustrations and graphic novel, and is using this experience as a stepping to commence Stirling University in August 2017.

Kay Dennet

Trainee to Relief Front of House Supervisor

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Being one of the Maker’s Bistro and Gallery’s earliest trainees Kay has gone on to demonstrate to our new trainees how far they could go and how much they can achieve if they apply themselves with determination, motivation and hard work. 

​"I began as a Front of House trainee in March 2013. On my first day, I was very nervous and a little scared after having been out of work for a while and I had no self-esteem or confidence. After only a few months of training I was told of a job opportunity as a catering assistant and that I should apply."

It has now been four years since Kay finished her training at the Maker's Gallery and Bistro. During her employment here she was promoted to Relief Front of House Supervisor. As well as customer service she trained and supported project trainees.


Since August 2015 she has been enrolled at Forth Valley College and currently undertaking a Pathway to Social Care course. 

​"Throughout my time at Maker's Gallery and Bistro I have become more confident.  My self-esteem has improved and I feel more comfortable when I speak to customers. I feel at ease with new surroundings and new people and find that I am keen to help new and current trainees throughout their programme in any way I can.

​The Makers Gallery and Bistro has had a large impact on me and in turn my home life. The support and encouragement from other staff members throughout my placement and employment has made me feel more valued as a person.

I feel confident taking on new challenges and feel proud with every new accomplishment I achieve.  It was with this support and encouragement I felt brave enough to apply for college and hope to get the chance to work in a field that I support." 

Kay plans to continue with her college course and aims to progress to the HNC course in August 2017 leading onto an HND.  She would like to become a mental health support worker to assist adults with mental health issues become independent and improve their quality of life. 

Elle Smith
"Developing The Young Workforce" Trainee
Elle Smith began as a trainee as part of the Scottish Government initiative ‘Developing the Young Workforce’ which aims to better prepare children and young people for the world of work. Elle felt disengaged from school and felt that she would benefit from experience in a work environment.
Her work on the trainee programme over five months and the confidence gained here has helped her secure a place at college to study events management.
“The most important part of this training programme for me was my improved confidence and the friends I have made. I wasn’t a confident person at the start, but I have gradually come out of my shell - My Mum even noticed that I was much brighter at home.
I struggled at first with tasks, finding the work hard, but through the support I received I now sail through the tasks.
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These are skills that I will be able to use when I go to college and have a job. I’ve learned so much here, I feel prepared to begin my college course and I have become a happier person”.


Not only has my diet really improved, I also had to learn how to communicate with the team in the busy kitchen environment which made me feel more confident to put myself out there socially.  Working in such a positive environment getting along with everyone I met gave me the self-esteem to increase my social circle.”


Darren applied to train for the army infantry and in January 2017 he left us to train for the Catterick Garrison.


“My increased communication skills and improved routine and structure really made me feel more capable of achieving my goals”.

Katy Ryan
Trainee to Relief Chef
“I started as a trainee in Nov 2013. I was nervous on my first day as I hadn’t worked since having my children, however Joanna immediately made me feel at home in the kitchen. I am very grateful to Joanna for training me and The Makers Gallery & Bistro for giving me this opportunity”


Alexx joined us as a trainee in 2016 after taking time out to raise her family. She had looked simply to gain relevant work experience, but I soon came to realise that she needed to work on her self-confidence as well.


"The programme offered me so many opportunities to gain new skills, build my confidence and learn how to work towards achieving my own goals. As well as the on the job training, I was given the chance to take part in a ‘writing for the web’ course and a mental first aid course."

Alexx feels a long term impact from her training is seen in her increased in confidence and she has a more positive outlook when it comes to further training or employment.


Darren Main

Kitchen Trainee to Army Infantry

Darren was a participant in Reachout partnership programme with Wasps Community Club and Coalfields Regeneration Trust ‘Sportsworks’. Being unemployed for an extended amount of time had really impacted on his confidence and this was creating a barrier to achieving his goal.


Darren discovered the range of opportunities available in The Makers Gallery & Bistro and applied to work in the Bistro kitchen. He initially enjoyed being a responsible member of the team and the variety of tasks such as making scones, bread and chopping vegetables, and soon realised the positive impact the training programme was having on his life.

“I am cooking more at home. I used to just make Pizza but now I make healthy soup for myself and my gran.

Alexx MacMillan

Gallery & Enterprise Trainee

"I feel more confident than ever that I can find fulfilling employment in the future. The skills and experience I have gained make me feel more relaxed about overcoming obstacles and trying new things. I have made some new friends, and have even met someone special through taking part in this programme."
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Harmony Rose Smith
Trainee to Self-employed Designer to Probationary Teacher
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Whilst a student studying art & design at Forth Valley College Harmony approached Reachout to volunteer in the studio. Initially she thought she might be interested in teaching of some sort but wasn’t sure if this was the career path she might follow. 


She was also producing a successful range of art products and artworks under the pseudonym, Harry Roxford; everything from paintings, to greetings cards, jewellery and textiles.


Progressing to the Gallery & Enterprise Training Programme Oct 2014 Harmony developed her jewellery brand, led art discussions and portfolio workshops for Reachout members and supported children with autism to participate in creative graffiti workshops through Reachout Outreach project funded by Cashback for Communities.



Now working full time as a probationary teacher in Struan School for those with Special Educational Needs, Harmony reflects that her training provided her the opportunity to change her life.


"My training at the Makers Gallery & Bistro set me up for this. It allowed me to work with different groups of people, from Play Alloa to Reachout; being encouraged to plan and structure lessons; having to communicate appropriately with my trainers and my learners. I soon realised that teaching was for me. My confidence, social skills and communication with others outside of my family circle really benefitted me. I felt validated by this different environment and that was a big factor in my growing self-esteem and confidence."


She now credits this tailored made programme of learning activities as helping her establish her future direction, giving her a level of freedom within clear negotiated boundaries within her self- development plan.


 " the activities and direction were well suited to my abilities and interests. It was very individualized and the additional focus on retail, excel, as transferable skills turned out to be very useful in the work I now enjoy.’


Harmony initiated and delivered a trainee evaluation workshop, where she encouraged fellow trainees to explore their feelings and opinions about their experiences of the training programme in both words and through different media. She later collated these findings and presented them as part of her personal development plan. She also completed a feasibility study for developing the garden area which required her to undertake questionnaires and report on findings.


Harmony was also encouraged to design and deliver a series of weekly Portfolio arts workshops with Reachout members as well as co delivering arts workshop with her trainer, Hannah.


On leaving the programme Harmony secured a job at Struan House, the national Autistic Centre, based in Alloa. She is employed in a pilot post as a probationary teacher for those with Special Educational Needs working with children and young adults aged from 8 to 18 years of age. She has been full time in the post for the past year and loves it.


Ideally Harmony would like to remain in the post should it become permanent but in the meantime she is applying for post graduate SEN teaching courses in Art & Design. She still hasn’t made up her mind whether she prefers primary or secondary teaching as she is currently spanning both areas with her pupils age ranges.

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