- Today (3 December) is International Day of Disabled Persons, this year the theme is ‘not all disabilities are visible’
- Local employer Cadent takes part in the EmployAbility scheme, EmployAbility is a scheme for young people aged 14-25 who have Sensory Education Needs
- The programme, based from Cadent’s Coventry and Hinckley offices has kept operating during the COVID-19 pandemic providing a lifeline for young people
EmployAbility is Cadent’s specially designed work programme that supports the employability of young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in local communities.
The EmployAbility scheme works with young people aged 14 – 25 who have Sensory Education Needs (SEN). The Internship runs for the academic year and students are supported by Job Coaches and their time between college and work placements throughout the company.
This year, COVID- 19 has forced the programme to find a new approach. Job Coaches Michele de Paola and Michelle Todd realised they had to get creative if the students on the programme were going to get the value of from their course whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines that prevented them from travelling around the office.
They created the ‘Department of Employability Services’ within Cadent, Employability students operate from their own hub, receiving tasks virtually from the rest of the organisation.
Job Coach, Michele De Paola said:
“We had to change our approach as the students were no longer able to travel in and out of the office as they once did. We wanted them to be able to get the same value from the course as previous students. I can’t praise the Cadent staff enough, they are so supportive of the interns”
Job Coach, Michelle Todd added:
“It’s really important to us that whilst the COVID - 19 restrictions are in place we don’t just sit around, our interns are up and working. We have our daily virtual meetings about work, but also make sure we schedule social time too, to ensure no one is isolated and that the interns still get to enjoy the social aspect of the programme”
The course has acted as a lifeline to the pupils, who have struggled during lockdown.
Tia, 18, a student on the programme said:
“I’ve noticed massive changes in myself since I started on the programme. I no longer feel vulnerable when making eye contact in a situation. I also have more confidence now than the start of the programme”
Fellow student Pacey, 19 said:
“Being a part of the Employability programme has given me a new lease of life, I struggled with communicating with people, but after only 2 months in the programme I can see that my skills have grown massively”