Young people with learning disabilities have celebrated successfully completing a City of Wolverhampton Council backed course designed to help them into work.

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Ten people aged 16 to 24 finished the 12 month Supported Internship pilot programme this summer, with all those taking part achieving new qualifications and half securing either paid employment or apprenticeships.

Indeed, the programme proved so successful that council will be supporting a second year of Supported Internships beginning shortly.

The Supported Internships are personalised study programmes designed to enable young people with learning disabilities to get sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for the workplace.

Of those who took part in the pilot, three have secured jobs and two have gone on to become an apprentice while all have achieved additional qualifications which will help them in their search for employment in the future.

Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Supported Internships are for young people with learning disabilities aged 16 to 24 who want to move into employment and need a little extra support to do so.

"The pilot programme proved very successful, and I am delighted that we will soon be working with 10 more young people over the next 12 months with a view to supporting them into employment and apprenticeships."

Harriett Pooler, who secured employment at Tettenhall Wood School through the Supported Internships programme, said: "I gained so much more confidence through the programme would like to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to be able to do what I have always wanted to do, which is working with children."

Jessica Bolt, who secured an apprenticeship following her Supported Internship, added: "I was nervous at first but as time went by I really felt happy and confident. I enjoyed work experience placements with Heantun Housing Association and at Old Tree Nursery doing administration work, and I am really happy that I am now an apprentice."

The first Supported Internship programme took place between August 2015 and August 2016 delivered by Nova Training in partnership with Heantun Housing, which provided employment opportunities, Enable providing job coaching and Connexions, which gave advice and support to young people throughout the programme. Other employers who supported internships and provided employment opportunities included the Co-Operative, Tettenhall Wood School, Access to Work and the NHS.

Ofsted judged progress made by young people to be Outstanding when they assessed the programme in July, saying that learners "develop exceptionally good employability skills and excel in their work placements".

A celebration event for the participants of the 2015 to 2016 programme was held in the Mayor's Parlour recently.

Caption: With the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Barry Findlay are Chloe Ward, Harriet Pooler, Manisha Ghatoura, Rosie Corser, Jessica Bott, Kyle Leonard and Kayleigh Denson, all of whom have been on the Supported Internship programme, Julie Stobart and Scott Simpson of Nova Training and Sandy Lisle, Special Educational Needs manager for the City of Wolverhampton Council

  • released: Tuesday 18 October, 2016