The Axby & Hirst Academy

The Axby & Hirst Academy is a Teaching and Learning platform for our local island community to engage with design and manufacture, and to learn via the process of designing and Making. This unique social enterprise takes advantage of the pre-existing infrastructure to deliver work experience and traineeship places to Isle of Wight based residents. to enable us to offer skilled training and work placements to individuals with learning difficulties and social issues allowing them to take more control over their future.


Our goal:

Our goal is to instil the skills and confidence that will allow individuals to take more control over their lives and give them more opportunities.

to enable us to offer skilled training and work placements to individuals with learning difficulties and social issues allowing them to take more control over their future.

Our mission:

Our mission is to work with three main areas of our local community. These are Individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities, long-term unemployed and vulnerable young people.

  •  Mencap IOW

Given the right support, people with a learning disability can do incredible things. The Axby & Hirst Academy will be working with  Mencap, Haylands Farm providing a safe and structured environment for training, work placements and twice monthly workshop groups where through small group mentoring, learning and support will make a great positive impact.

  • Care Learning Centre: 

Working with the Care Learning Centre to offer access to flexible and supportive traineeships. Via the training of young people between the ages of 16-25 who have ‘fallen through the cracks of mainstream education’. In so doing provide access to flexible working hours and content to increase their employability, inspire and give confidence giving them the opportunities to improve their lives.

  •  Learning Links:

Working with the charity Learning Links we will help to improve life chances and futures by providing pre-employment training to those who have been on long term unemployment benefit. Giving them, the opportunities needed to enhance their skills and work ethic through work based experience and gain a valued work reference. Empowering them to improve their own futures.



Our Goal is to pass on skills for the future-

The Axby & Hirst Academy is a teaching and learning platform where students can learn a broad range of design and manufacture based learning, via the interchange of skills. From computer aided design (CAD), Laser CNC with contemporary manufacturing techniques, traditional Carpentry and craftsmanship. This is structured around the pre-existing infrastructure of Axby & Hirst Ltd. We are designers and makers of traditional and contemporary homewares, who also provide commercial products from concept to completion.

 “Axby & Hirst don’t see limitations only innovation, we are passionate about creating social change by supporting our island community. Through positive role models and self-empowerment help us to improve someone’s future.”- Louise Axby-Hirst.


How it all started:

Everyone has the ability to change their life for the better, our family too found ourselves needing to make this change.

Our disabled daughter wasn’t given the opportunities she was entitled to, because of this unique set of circumstances and with the help of our three daughters Axby & Hirst was founded.

We were given help from many people including Virgin Start-UpThe NEA Scheme, Ready For Business, and Into-Biz but mainly from our island community.

This is our chance to give something back.