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Warwickshire businesses urged to back college's supported internship scheme

Businesses are being encouraged to consider offering internships for supported learning students to help them develop transferrable skills and gain workplace experience.

WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) is calling on employers to back the supported internship scheme, which is aimed at young people aged 16 to 25 who have learning difficulties and disabilities.

Warwickshire businesses urged to back college's supported internship scheme

The programme aims to help young people get paid employment by gaining skills in an internship of at least six months.

WCG provides a dedicated job coach to support the intern during their time with a company, all of which is government funded and free to the employer.

Employers across the public and private sectors are already supporting the initiative which has been run by the college group for three years.

Warwickshire County Council is among the employers who have worked with WCG and has taken on supported interns for two successive years.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Supported internships offer a way forward for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) across the region to enter the workplace.

These young people have a range of skills and great potential, so it is vital organisations and businesses provide opportunities for them to gain invaluable workplace experience.

The County Councils commitment to supporting individuals with SEND into employment is emphasised by our Supportive Employers initiative, which has found internships for more than 60 young people.

We are delighted to work with WCG to help young people develop skills, showcase their potential and put them on a pathway to a positive future.”

Businesses that have taken on supported interns in the last year include ISS World at Warwick Hospital Kitchen in Leamington, Royal Mail, Ansty Hall Hotel, Cineworld and Barnardo’s warehouse and online hub in Rugby.

Building and Plumbing Supplies (BPS) Ltd in Leamington Spa was one of the private sector businesses to take on a supported intern over the last 12 months.

Ashley Ellwood, Branch Manager at BPS, added: “To see how our intern Thabo has grown over the last 12 months has been very rewarding and he has been a real asset to the business too.

“The job coach frees up our time to focus on other areas of the business. The internship is not only beneficial to the company but also to the student, as it provides opportunities for people who are sometimes overlooked.”

Chris Healy, Head of Department for Supported Learning at WCG, said: Supported internships are an incredible opportunity for businesses to make a real difference to the lives of our young people and boost their workforce at the same time.

“Participating businesses will also be supported by our job coaches who will be on hand to assist interns with training and additional support.

The internship process is easy, flexible and can be moulded to the needs of an employer.

The internships provide vital training opportunities to students and gives them a chance to develop their confidence and work skills – making a huge difference to their employment prospects after leaving college.”  

Employers interested in finding out more about supported internships and how they can support students into employment should contact  Chris Healy,  Head of Department for Supported Learning on 0300 135 6243 or at [email protected].

For more information visit www.wcg.ac.uk/supportedinternships

Pictured: From left to right Matt Cook,Thabo Mlambo, Rob Henderson and Jonathan Appelbe-Wootton

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