Young people with learning
disabilities helped in to work
YOUNG people with learning disabilities
are being supported into work through a new scheme launched by Liverpool City
Council. Just 6% of young people with learning disabilities in the City are in
employment, and the aim of the scheme is to help them transition from education
in to the world of work, so they can live more independently and don't become
The Council has teamed up with the Marriott Hotel, Hilton Hotel and grounds
maintenance partner Glendale Liverpool to offer Supported Internship placements.
They last an academic year with the pupils working for a different department in
the organisation each term.
Pupils from Sandfield Park School, Bank View High School and Myerscough College
are working 4 days a week and spending the other day in lessons to build
All the pupils are supported by a work coach who helps them get used to the
routine expected when in employment, instructing and supporting pupils to build
skills in the work place to complete work tasks to a high level.
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for Schools, Councillor Nick Small, said:-
"Far too few young people with special needs achieve their potential because
they are not given the opportunity to work. This scheme is about working
closely with young people and employers to support them into the world of work
and give them the opportunity to compete for jobs. Everyone can make a
contribution to society if they are given the chance and we need to do far more
to integrate young people with special needs into the workforce, rather than
institutionalising them and in many cases, leaving them languishing in the care
Although it will take time, the eventual aim is for every young person with
disabilities that wants it to be given the chance to get paid employment.
Sarah Spoor, Learning Mentor and Inclusion
Officer at Sandfield Park, said:- "I can honestly say that the Supported
Internship programme is the best thing I have seen in all of the years I have
been working with young people with special educational needs. For too long
there have been poor outcomes for disabled young people leaving school or
college and very few are able to find paid employment; this is not only unfair,
but it means that so much talent and skill is not being used or developed and
sadly impacts on disabled young people's aspirations and hopes for the future.
It is a chance to develop work skills with support from a work coach to give the
young person a real chance to get meaningful and paid employment. I have seen
all 3 young people grow so much in confidence and maturity and they are more
independent and developing great skills."
Becky Cooper, HR Manager for the Liverpool Marriott Hotel said:-
"The supported Internship program is an exciting opportunity for us to work
closely with our community partners to enhance the experience of young people
with disabilities and equip them with the necessary skills to go on to paid
employment. Allowing us to access a new pool of talent, the programme also
provides our employees with exceptional personal development opportunities as
they work with and mentor the young people. We have been working with the
students for over 12 months in the lead up to this project and since starting
the Internship in September they have settled into Marriott exceptionally well
and already feel like part of our team. In a short space of time we have seen
huge positive change in their confidence levels and communication and they are
doing a great job within the Housekeeping department. We are excited for the
next stage in the internship and look forward to seeing them to continue to
John Stanton, aged 17, from Sandfield Park
School, who is working at the Liverpool Marriott Hotel in Queen Square, said:-
"I really enjoy working at the Marriott Hotel as the staff are really nice
and helpful. I think supported internships are good as it gives a chance to work
in a work place. I would like to get a job here when the Internship has
finished. I enjoy everything about the placement, I love getting up the mornings
to go to work and doing jobs really well and I am proud of myself."
Helen Eaton, Assistant Principal of Myerscough College, said:- "The
Supported Internship programme provides the opportunity for Myerscough College
to work with both young people and their supervisors. It's about creating work
ready young people and removing any barriers that may be present in the
workplace that could stop the employer from taking on a young person with
learning difficulties. I'm so proud of the progress that's being made."