20th Jan, 2018

Pioneering scheme helps disabled students find their way into work experience

Coventry Editorial 27th Aug, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

DISABLED students at a specialist Coventry college are being helped into work experience thanks to pioneering scheme.

Youngsters at Hereward College in Tile Hill are expanding their horizons and securing internships at local businesses with the help of The Supported Internship programme.

The scheme, run by the college’s Employability team, aims to tackle the national statistic that reveals just 7 per cent of young people with disabilities are able to find paid employment – helping students at the college, which predominantly caters for students with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties, find work experience in order to further develop their skills.

Having already been working with National Grid, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and Coventry council’s Employment Support Service, the programme has now successfully secured work experience with three local businesses – Severn Trent Water, Whitefriars Housing, and Rugby-based Airwave.

From September, nine Hereward students will start work experience at the companies accompanied by an on-site job coach employed by Hereward.

Mike Williamson, head of network control and asset management at Severn Trent, described the venture as a ‘hugely exciting project’.

He added: “We’re proud to be working with Hereward College on a scheme which has great benefits for our community and we hope this is the start of a long and productive relationship.”

Severn Trent’s interns will be learning from their customer service, asset data and property teams, while students heading to Whitefriars Housing will work in the company’s property maintenance teams, assisting in the organisation’s cleaning and garden upkeep.

Whitefriars is also aiming to take on an additional three office-based interns at the beginning of 2017 to work across lettings and customer services, its neighbourhoods team and property services department.

Previous Hereward interns who have joined the supported programme are now moving into both full and part-time paid employment.

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