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An appeal has been launched for Nuneaton employers to find a place for students with learning disabilities within their workforces as part of a college supported internships scheme.North Warwickshire And Hinckley College Lauren Taylor

Students aged 19-24 based at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College’s specialist LifeWorks Hub have been working all year to improve their employability skills and are now ready to contribute to the local workforce.

Hub manager Sian John said, “Our students present the perfect opportunity for employers to take on a new team member and train them in the specific tasks needed for roles in their businesses.

“A student from the LifeWorks Hub brings the advantage of dedicated workplace support from a college job coach who will accompany them into work to get them settled in, providing support for as long as they need it, and setting targets alongside their employers to keep their progress and productivity on track.

“Students benefit from internships through the development of their self-esteem and confidence as well as having the chance to build future career opportunities.

“Businesses that offer internships are able to develop home-grown talent that provides a welcome boost to their operations.”

LifeWorks student Lauren Taylor, 20, from Bulkington has already been successful in her work placement at Hawksmoor Boarding Kennels where she helps to feed and exercise the dogs.

Jade Bassallo, assistant manager at the kennels said, “Having Lauren here has been a huge benefit to the business. She is helpful and works really hard, constantly using her initiative. Lauren has picked up the fast working pace quickly, which is hard to find in this industry.”

The LifeWorks Hub is a dedicated and fully-accessible facility where students aged 19-24 with special educational needs or disabilities follow a programme that helps them to gain skills for independent living and work.

Based at the College’s Nuneaton campus, the Hub was designed and created with the help of a grant from Warwickshire County Council and is now transforming the lives of local adults. The Hub has been designed to improve the employability of students by helping them to make the transition between finishing academic study at college and entering the workplace.

Employers interested in offering a supported internship should expect to provide work for at least two days a week over a minimum of 12 months, but do not need to guarantee a future permanent job. The College is particularly keen to find internships for students in the retail, leisure or logistics sectors.

Sian John said, “Obviously, if our students impress, we would be delighted if they could secure permanent employment but we would be happy in the first instance if employers would just give them a chance to prove what they can do.”

Work experience is also a core component of the programme and employers that cannot offer internships are invited to provide short term opportunities of just a few hours’ work a week.

Sian added, “It is a key priority for us that every child and young person gets the opportunity to achieve their potential, find employment and have choice and control over their futures.

“It is vital that we raise expectations amongst young people and their families about what can be achieved by enabling better careers information and exposure to the wide range of choices available, gaining support within the workplace through effective engagement with employers, and collaborating with partners who can help them to focus on appropriate career destinations.

“We are very grateful for the support of local employers including Pets at Home, Hawksmoor Boarding Kennels, HMV, the British Heart Foundation, and the Miner’s Welfare Gardens.

“We hope that LifeWorks will now become a focal point for potential employers to explore employment, work experience and supported internships.”

Employers that are interested in supported internships should call 024 7624 3000 and ask for Sian John or email