One of Bangkok’s most prestigious international schools embarks on a partnership with STEPS to create an inclusive campus model never before seen in Thailand. St Andrews Sukhumvit 107 (S107) will open a STEPS vocational training centre and cafe onsite where neurodivergent students (for example those with autism) can access alternative education to suit their needs.
The partnership with St Andrews Sukhumvit 107 represents the first time the complete Steps model has been incorporated into a wider academic environment. Both organisations have high hopes that integrating the two will create a community of acceptance which will stay with all students long after they leave the school.
There are already two Steps vocational centers running in Bangkok and Phuket. The centers are attached to social businesses such as cafes to give trainees hands-on work experience. Steps cafes are open to the public so customers can experience the capabilities of neurodivergent people firsthand, as well as making them feel more accepted in the community.
They are also keen to promote the benefits of business for social good, and the cafe will tie in with this not only by offering employment to Steps trainees, but by taking an eco-friendly approach – setting an example to children, staff and parents alike. Lizzy West, Head of Inclusion at St Andrews Sukhumvit 107, said:
“Placing neurodivergent students at the heart of our community should help all staff, students and parents think more inclusively. By working in partnership with Steps, our vision is to open up doors to young people which should never have been closed.”
An existing St Andrews student who has, in the past, attended offsite training with Steps. They will now start learning at the campus vocational centre and said: “I have been to the STEPS training Centre for 3 years. The different things I got to do are that I have made new friends, made some drinks, learned how to do shopping and learned money maths word problems. I am feeling more happy, because I make new friends at Steps.”
Max Simpson, CEO of Steps, said:
“We see this partnership as a significant step toward creating more employment opportunities for neurodivergent young people. When we speak about inclusion, we speak about creating a place where everyone feels accepted for who they are. We’ve managed to create this environment within our current vocational centres and cafes, but it will never be enough until it starts to expand beyond the spaces we manage to wider society. What better place to start than a school, where the perceptions of the decision makers and employers of the future are being shaped.”
The Steps vocational centre at St Andrews Sukhumvit 107 will be open to existing students at the school as well as new recruits. To find out more about the programme on offer, and enrolment, visit the Steps website.
STEPS is a team of specialists, therapists and trainees. We run vocational training centres and coffee shops in Bangkok and Phuket for young adults (some who are neurodivergent), to gain the skills they need to access a fulfilling career. Our therapists work in the wider community to support children and young adults. Our ultimate aim is to help all people lead purposeful, dignified lives.
STEPS is a place where everyone is accepted for who they are. A community of acceptance that embraces difference and individuality. A platform that showcases capability and highlights potential. A supporting hand to attain qualifications, sustainable employment and the opportunity to contribute to the society you live in and have a fulfilling, dignified life. The chance for equality for people with learning differences.
“There are more than 2 million people with disabilities registered in Thailand. Fewer than 25% of them are employed. Here at Steps we are a passionate team of trainers and therapists dedicated to changing this.” Max Simpson, Founder of STEPS.
About St. Andrews Sukhumvit 107
St. Andrews Sukhumvit 107, is an inclusive school for 0-18 year olds with a vibrant, green suburban campus in the heart of Bangkok. We offer all our learners an outstanding and varied experience where they will join our welcoming school community with students, parents, and teachers from over 40 different nationalities. St. Andrews focus on meeting your child’s individual needs.
St. Andrews International School Sukhumvit, as well as our Sathorn, Dusit and Green Valley campus, in Thailand are part of Cognita, a global school network of over 68 schools in Europe, Latin America and South-East Asia. Providing excellent teaching and supporting every child to achieve their potential are the cornerstones of a Cognita education.