Young people with disabilities celebrate success at graduation ceremony
To mark Learning Disability Awareness (LD) Week 17 – 23 June, Gloucestershire County Council held a graduation ceremony for the young people they’ve supported into employment this year.
AIM, the council’s Supported Internship Programme, brings together education providers and employers in Gloucestershire to offer young people with disabilities, aged 18-25 the opportunity to spend their last year of education in a real work setting gaining the skills they need for employment.
The internship programme aims to help young people with learning disabilities gain new social skills, confidence and financial independence. The programme also provides an opportunity for employers to see that with the right support in place, young people with disabilities can make a positive contribution to their business.
Once a young person has completed the programme, the council’s Forward Employment Service will help them to find alternative work if they’re internship employer is not able to offer them a job.
Since the programme was introduced in 2015, 117 young people have taken part. The Forwards team have worked with five education providers, including Cirencester College, Prospect Training, National Star college, Gloucester College and over 100 employers have offered placements.
62 young people have started or have been offered paid work as a result of their participation in the programme.
The Supported Internship Graduation ceremony took place on Thursday 20 June at Gloucester Cathedral to celebrate the success of the young people who have completed their internship this year, with 18 of the 38 people having already secured employment.
The ceremony included a presentation of certificates to 30 young people and an ‘Intern of the Year’ award presented by Pete Bungard, Chief Executive and Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for children’s safeguarding and early years.
Nikki Balbini, who has previously completed the programme and has since gone on to find permanent employment, also shared her experience with those attending the ceremony.
Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader of the council and Cabinet Member for children’s safeguarding and early years said:
“We are immensely proud of this programme, its helped to change the culture in Gloucestershire schools and colleges as young people with disabilities now believe they will have the opportunity to find work in the same way as their non-disabled peers.
Most of the young people we have worked with have learning disabilities or autism and some have other disabilities or complex health conditions.
This ceremony is a celebration of the success of the programme and recognition of the hard work and development of this year’s interns.”
To find out more about the Supported Internship Programme visit the Forward Employment Service website: http://www.forwardsgloucestershire.co.uk/