Hinckley students shine in the workplace thanks to pioneering Cadent scheme

Dorothy Goodman students land jobs and college places in life-changing scheme
  • Students graduate from Cadent’s pioneering EmployAbility internship initiative
  • Calls for more companies in the region to give opportunities to youngsters with learning needs
  • Four young students from Hinckley’s Dorothy Goodman Academy have landed jobs and coveted college places – thanks to a life-changing initiative by local gas network operator, Cadent.
     
    Graduating from the Hinckley-based firm’s EmployAbility internship scheme, Jake, Liam, Alec and Josh are taking their first steps into the world of paid work and further education. Jake and Alec have landed jobs at Cadent’s Brick Kiln Street offices in Hinckley, while Josh and Liam have won places at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and Leicester College.
     
    Now in its third year, Cadent’s ‘EmployAbility – Let’s Work Together’ programme offers internships to young people with learning needs and disabilities, giving them valuable skills and boosting their employment prospects. More interns from Dorothy Goodman Academy will be joining the scheme in September.
     
    Cadent’s Dave Tilley, who has championed the scheme at Hinckley, said: “This year’s interns have been absolutely phenomenal. They have brought so much to our business and it has been so rewarding to have seen their confidence, self-esteem and sense of achievement grow”.
     
    Sophie Woolham leads the implementation of the scheme at Hinckley and explained that it enables people to discover talents that otherwise might never have been realised.
     
    “Cadent is benefiting from skills that we don’t often find in our usual talent pools, as well as developing leadership qualities and improving disability comfort amongst our colleagues.

    "We’re delighted that Jake and Alec will be staying on with us and to see Josh and Liam embark on their college careers. We hope that other businesses will see the worth in giving young people a chance to shine in the work place and join the scheme,” she explained.
     
    Janet Thompson, Headteacher of Dorothy Goodman  Academy, said: “We are incredibly proud of our students. It is such a pleasure to see the transformation from when they started until now. They have embraced a life-changing opportunity and I look forward to seeing them flourish and grow. We are looking forward to working with Cadent next term.”
     
    EmployAbility scheme works by giving interns experience working in a number of roles. These include data collection, IT and communications, catering, reprographics, the post room and working on reception.

    The interns are supported by job coach Louise Green, from Dorothy Goodman Academy. She works with the business to learn the job roles and then supports the students to do the work, before gradually stepping back and letting the interns do the job for themselves.

    Cadent is one of only a handful of UK companies with a specially designed strategy to help students with learning disabilities. However, the company is aware that there is a limit to how many opportunities it can offer and more companies are needed in Leicestershire and the East Midlands to join EmployAbility and build on its achievements.
     
    The aim is to help the interns improve their prospects of paid employment or further education.  So far more than 70% of the interns have moved from the scheme into paid employment.  This compares with Department for Education statistics that show 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.
     

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Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

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