- Young people with learning needs given work chances
- National Grid leads the way in internship
- Students are an 'inspiration' to workers
A pioneering National Grid scheme has been launched to help young people with learning needs and disabilities to find work.
Under "EmployAbility" six youngsters have been given internships at National Grid Hinckley in Leicestershire.
The students are from the local Dorothy Goodman School in Hinckley and the Oak Wood Secondary School in Nuneaton.
The innovative scheme was launched by Nick Winser, National Grid's executive director.
He said: "After a very successful pilot scheme I'm delighted this project has now come to Hinckley. By providing supported internships for students with disabilities, including autism, we have already delivered some amazing results. The students have developed their confidence and disabilities beyond expectations.
"And our employees have, in turn, been inspired by the students' 'can do' attitude. We would encourage other business to follow suit – it can only bring benefits and transform the lives of our interns".
Eighteen-year-old Matthew A’Hearne-Kehoe from the Dorothy Goodman School in Hinckley said: “I’m really looking forward to my work placement with National Grid. It will make me feel more confident and allow me to gain more experience so that I can get a job.”
National Grid is one of the few private UK companies with a programme to help students with learning disabilities to find employment and, hopefully, a productive life.
The company has created a simple model for EmployAbility; a role is identified that an intern can fill. The intern then spends about three months doing that job while supported by a job coach.
National Grid staff on its graduate scheme are also involved in the EmployAbility project to help develop their own skills.
According to the the Department of Education a student with learning disabilities has only a seven-per-cent likelihood of finding paid work.