Youngsters in Gloucestershire being given the chance to learn the skills they need for work as part of a specialised work programme for people with a learning disability.
Disability employment specialist Remploy is in the second year of a partnership with Gloucestershire College, offering a supported internship programme to enable 18-24-year-olds to learn on the job.
Remploy is a mission-driven social business with a diverse workforce – of whom 30% have a declared disability or health condition. Employees have a 30% shareholding in the company, which left government ownership in 2015.
The company says that, while over 60% of people with learning disabilities want to work, the learning disability employment rate is currently just 6%.
Most of the interns on the programme with Gloucestershire College have already secured permanent roles, with more expected to find work in the coming weeks.
Nadine Robinson, employment mentor at Gloucestershire College, said: “The supported internship provides an opportunity for our interns to develop and refine their employability skills, which otherwise may not be available. They are also able to mature socially, by bringing them out of their comfort zone and developing their confidence, through interaction in the workplace with colleagues and customers, and through their employment sessions in college.”
Olivia Stanbury, 19, has been offered a housekeeping job with Premier Inn after completing her supported internship with the company.
She said: “Since I have been at Premier Inn I have really grown as an individual and have made new friends. I am a more confident and because people treat me like an adult, I have learnt to be positive and constructive in the way I deal with situations in work and at home.”
Young people on supported internships benefit from a personalised study programme and in-work support from a trained job coach over a year, giving interns and employers the flexibility and time to grow together.
Oliver Smith, 20, from Gloucester, has also been offered a paid position at Bells Golf Club and Hotel.
Lorraine Symonds, his manager, said: “The supported internship route has been great for us and Oliver who has shown real commitment to his role.
“With the fantastic support we received from Remploy we concentrated on the skills he has and what he can do. We’re delighted to now be in the position to offer him a paid role with us.”
Remploy are working with a growing number of employers, including hotels, hospitals and public bodies, to deliver successful supported internship programmes for people with learning disabilities and demonstrate how they align employer commitments to social inclusion and workplace diversity.
Any employers interested in finding out more about supported internships can call 0300 456 8113 or email [email protected]