- Teenagers from local special schools learn about working in the energy industry
- North Warwickshire and Bedworth MP Craig Tracey meets the youngsters getting their first taste of the world of work
A local company’s efforts to get young people fired up about the world of work have won the seal of approval today (Friday 10 February) from North Warwickshire and Bedworth MP Craig Tracey.
National Grid Gas Distribution threw open its doors to 21 students from special schools in Coventry, Nuneaton, Coleshill, and Hinckley for Work Inspiration Week. A five-day, action-packed itinerary took the youngsters across the West Midlands to an operational gas depot, an electricity substation and an environment centre.
The week was topped off with a day of presentations and a VIP visit from Mr Tracey. He joined the teenagers at National Grid’s Coventry offices to hear about their first taste of the world of work and to present them with certificates.
Mr Tracey said: “This is a wonderful initiative from National Grid Gas Distribution to inspire local young people with learning difficulties about work. I’m delighted to support Work Inspiration Week as someone who has previously urged local employers to be ‘Disability Confident’ and hosted jobs fairs which have catered for those with extra needs. Meeting these young people and seeing how they are benefiting from this week was an absolute privilege.”
Chris Train, Chief Executive of National Grid Gas Distribution, said: “We are passionate about opening up training and employment opportunities to young people with learning needs, focusing on their talents and abilities. We hope that this week has left these students enthused about the world of work.
“We were delighted that Craig Tracey could join us, to meet these young people and hear about their experiences. We hope that we may meet some of these students again in the future, on our EmployAbility supported internship scheme.”
Those young people taking part in Work Inspiration Week were from Exhall Grange School in Coventry, Oak Wood School in Nuneaton, Woodlands in Coleshill, and Dorothy Goodman in Hinckley.
Exhall Grange School student Megan said: “We learnt how complex gas is. It’s not just about turning the gas on at home – it goes on such a journey to get there.”
Their week with National Grid Gas Distribution also inspired the students to find out more about National Grid’s EmployAbility programme. Now in its third year, EmployAbility is specially designed to help students with learning needs and disabilities to find employment.
It offers year-long internships, where the teenagers can experience working across a number of areas, from data collection and communications to catering and reception. The scheme gives youngsters valuable work experience, making them more attractive to future employers. Many previous interns have gone on to land permanent jobs with National Grid and its contractors.
Department for Education statistics show that students with learning disabilities have only a seven-per-cent likelihood of finding paid employment. The cost to the community of supporting someone who doesn’t find work through their life is £1 million per person.