Last week, eight Leicester students with learning disabilities celebrated as they graduated from a nine month supported internship with Remploy, based at their head office in Leicestershire.
The new internship programme, called Steps into Work is delivered by Remploy in partnership with National Star College.
Without support, many learning disabled people will struggle to succeed at work, if they make it past the selection stage. Steps into Work was specifically designed to support the needs of people with learning disabilities, giving students the opportunity to gaining a qualification and valuable experience working in a real work environment, with the support of a job coach and mentor. They are an ideal route for young people to transition into employment from Children’s Services, realising significant costs savings for every service user who enters paid employment.
The students worked in a variety of roles and departments, including customer service, marketing, PA support and management information. On completion of the internship the students had the opportunity to apply for vacancies available within the company.
Bilal Patia and Jayna Ramaiya talents shone through and they were delighted when they secured administration assistant roles. Hemal Nandha was also offered a one year apprenticeship, which will hopefully lead to permanent employment.
Jayna said: “I really enjoyed my time on Steps into Work as it meant I could go to work. I liked working with my colleagues and it has helped me become more confident. I can’t wait to start my new job, i’m going to save up and treat myself.”
The rest of the students will continue with their job searching with the support and guidance of Remploy’s specialist employment branch on Causeway Lane in the city.
The traditional interview process is not always the best route for people with learning disabilities. An internship programme not only allows the individual the opportunity to develop their workplace skills and show employers what they can do, but it also enabled employers to shape the individual’s skills to the requirements of their job roles.
Programmes like Steps into Work, can help colleges to provide real work opportunities for their students and help them to gain the workplace and social skills to move into work and even secure employment at the end of their placement.
Beth Carruthers, Chief Executive of Remploy said: “We know from experience that with the right support, people with learning disabilities make productive, highly valued employees. Our goal is to demonstrate that everyone can work with the right support.”