Become a trainee
We welcome applications to train with us from any adults with learning disabilities or autism. Applications can be submitted by anyone, for example parents of a potential trainee or social workers.
Getting to know us
When you apply to become a trainee we’ll firstly invite you to come and have a look around Little Gate Farm, so you can see what we do and how we do it.
If you enjoy the experience, and we can offer the support you need, then you are welcome to come to the farm for two free taster days so you can decide if it’s right for you or not.
If you decide that it is right for you, then you can self-fund or we can help you to secure funding through Adult Social Care, so you can become a Little Gate trainee. Please contact Adult Social Care directly for assessment and information about funding.
We provide transport to and from the farm from Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill, along with any equipment you’ll need.
Find out more or apply
We train our jobseekers in a wide range of office skills, including IT and administrative tasks.
Many of the routine tasks within an office suit our candidates perfectly and they thrive on the repetitive nature. This allows them to bring a high level of efficiency and reliability to similar roles in their working lives.
Hospitality and catering
This is an area of learning which our trainees really love as they acquire skills which can help them enormously in their personal lives, as well as in their eventual employment. We train a range of hospitality and catering capabilities, including kitchen tasks (lunch on the farm is prepared by our trainees every day) and customer service skills.
Our trainees also benefit from the events we hold at Little Gate Farm, which are a great opportunity for work experience.
Horticulture and cut flower enterprise
At our Little Gate Farm training centre, we have an area dedicated to the production of cut flowers which is managed by our trainees, as well as growing fruit and vegetables for our kitchen.
This gives our trainees valuable horticultural skills which can be transferred to jobs in the gardening and horticulture sectors.
It also provides a fantastic insight into the principles of business as the trainees manage the process “from seed to sale”; because we sell the cut flowers on our market stall.
Offsite garden maintenance
In addition to the horticultural training at Little Gate Farm, we also offer opportunities to train off site in private gardens.
This gives the trainees a chance to expand their knowledge to include tasks such as lawn care and the maintenance of hard landscaping.
We are fortunate to have 20 acres of woodland as part of our training centre at Little Gate Farm. It’s classified as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland, which means that it has been woodland since trees recolonised Britain after the last ice age (20,000 years ago). It is home to a variety of native tree species, rare ground flora and a wide range of wildlife.
Our trainees have the opportunity to learn woodland management skills and understand how the woodland can be used as a resource for social enterprise – making money in an environmentally friendly and beneficial way. You can purchase products from our woodland enterprise including charcoal and firewood.
Our training centre is based at our headquarters – Little Gate Farm. It’s a working farm which is home to a variety of animals. Many of our trainees enjoy learning how to care for them.
As well as the educational opportunities, dealing with the animals day to day has great therapeutic value.
We have a regular market stall in Hastings Old Town where we sell cut flowers from our farm.
Manning the stall gives our trainees a fantastic opportunity to experience many elements of working life, such as handling cash and dealing with customers. Plus they have the satisfaction of selling the produce they have grown.
Life skills workshops
Alongside our job-focussed training activities, every afternoon is set aside for our Life Skills Workshops.
These are designed to help our trainees prepare for working life and cover a wide range of topics such as:
- Personal finance
- Managing anxiety in the workplace
- Using social media
- Prejudices they might experience (for example, hate crimes)
The support is either provided by our in-house team or by external experts. We welcome any approaches from organisations who may be able to contribute by providing occasional training in appropriate subjects. Please contact us about opportunities to present to our trainees.