Our story began all the way back in 2011 with the beginnings of Post19. Post19 is a day service for young adults with disabilities based in Farnham, Surrey. It was the brainchild of Rob Power who had previously taught in special educational needs schools for many years and witnessed firsthand the problems families faced once their children reached adulthood. Post19 was formed to fill a much needed gap in services for young people who had come to the end of their formal education years and still needed somewhere fulfilling, nurturing, and empowering place to go to continue with their life skills and independence learning. Post19 is a fun, friendly, supportive environment offering a huge range of activities to stimulate, encourage and develop the young people who attend.
As Post19 grew in both physical space and numbers, we felt able to offer further vocational training to those young adults who would benefit from a more work orientated environment. Here they could be supported whilst training in new skills that would eventually enable them to live more independent lives and make use skills essential for preparing them to work. enterprise19 was formed. Enterprise19 is a not for profit CIC, where young adults design and create products during bespoke workshops taught by local professionals, from carpentry and furniture upcycling, to textiles and crafts, to graphic design and printing. Products are then sold at local markets, shops and online. Our young adults are fully involved in all stages of the product design, development, creation and finally, sale. All profits are fed straight back for further materials and training in a cyclical process that allows more and more young people opportunities that simply wouldn't be available to them otherwise.
And then.... out of the successes of the first two '19's' : theth3rdlevel project was born. At first, it seemed a crazy idea to have to create a real 'live' company that could offer valuable, valid, enjoyable, fulfilling work experience opportunities in a real industry setting... but where else was it going to happen? How else could our young people have access to that amazing possibility if we weren't to create it?
So we did. theth3rdlevel aims to create unique, ethical, fashion clothing that our customers will want to wear because it fits, it looks good, it lasts and it literally doesn't cost the earth. By doing this, we have a viable commercial project, meaning we are also able to then offer work experience opportunities to our young adults. From creating the designs in our enterprise19 graphics workshops, to learning valuable stock management skills and learning the ropes of retail in our shop, to warehouse stock control, packaging and deliveries, to modelling our garments and helping with the lighting, make up and photography of our fashion shoots.
We hope to make theth3rdlevel a huge success because we firmly believe in ethical, people centric business. For ALL people. And we hope that other business's will learn about us, see how we work and be inspired to offer similar opportunities to young, differently-abled, people.