Coventry firms team up to give young people with additional needs the chance to shine in the workplace

helping our community working for us

  • Jobs and college joy for Exhall Grange Specialist School students
  • Cadent’s EmployAbility scheme gives students a leg-up on the career ladder
  • Coventry firms join forces to give young people with additional needs the chance to shine in the workplace
Firms on a Coventry business park have joined forces to give young adults 17- 19 years old with additional needs the chance to shine in the workplace – thanks to a trail-blazing scheme run by local gas distribution company Cadent.
Five students from Exhall Grange School are this week celebrating landing coveted jobs and college places after graduating from Cadent’s ‘EmployAbility – Let’s Work Together’ supported internship programme.
Cadent, its service providers 14Forty, Manpower and CBRE, have teamed up with neighbouring businesses, GEFCO and Octavian, at the Prologis Business Park. The firms offer Post 16 students from local specialist schools internship placements to provide valuable work experience and help them to land jobs, apprenticeships and further education places when they graduate from the year-long scheme.
Eighteen-year-old Jamie Bratt has landed a job in Cadent’s finance department, while Heidi Davis is working in GEFCO’s human resources department. Daniel Barrowman has gained a traineeship with the British Heart Foundation in Nuneaton. Meanwhile, fellow student Becki Trickett has been accepted on to nail technician course at Coventry College and Baily Foster has a number of apprenticeships in the offering.
Cadent Acting Chief Financial Officer Julian Allsopp, who is championing EmployAbility, said: “EmployAbility is now in its second year at Coventry and it’s been a great success. More than 70% of the young people on the scheme find paid work compared with just 6.8% of people with additional needs nationally and only 16% of those with autism.
“Not only does the scheme enable the interns to develop and grow into skilled and employable young people but we, and our partner companies, are benefitting from nurturing a previously untapped talent pool. We hope that more and more businesses will join us on this journey and offer even more life-changing opportunities for these young people.”
Heidi Davis said: “The EmployAbility scheme has helped me build my confidence and discover the me that was hidden inside.”
Sandra Trainor, HR Business Partner at GEFCO, said: “We are committed to the development of all of our staff and their wellbeing, and our newest interns have exceeded our expectations at every single level. EmployAbility is a no-brainer if you want to develop your talent pipeline, get a fresh perspective on your business and employ committed young people who want to make a difference.”
Caroline Parkhouse, Assistant Headteacher at Exhall Grange School, said: “The opportunities provided by EmployAbility are phenomenal for our students. The scheme gives them invaluable life and work experience and transforms them into amazing young adults with great employability credentials. We hope that we can continue to grow the scheme and bring more employers on board for the next chapter of our development.”

Graduation celebrations...pictured left to right:  Caroline Parkhouse, Exhall Grange Assistant Headteacher; Exhall Grange EmployAbility graduate Heidi Davis; Julian Allsopp, Cadent’s Acting Chief Financial Officer and EmployAbility champion; Exhall Grange EmployAbility graduate Daniel Barrowman and Claire Duggan, Woodlands School Work Experience Co-ordinator.



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. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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Rebecca Wright

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