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Local success for supported internships

Rachel Melton (workplace co-ordinator at Lakes College), Lisa Barber (job coach for Right2Work), Gary Austin, Sue Hayman (MP), Callum Crayston, Kaye Winfindale (employment advisor at Right2Work) and Karen Wilson (deputy principle at Lakes College)

[T]wo young students from Lakes College are amongst the first in the County to successfully enrol on an initiative to offer work-based training in the area, via Supported Internships.

Gary Austin, who is 22 years old from Workington has been working at The Powerhouse Gym, in Hensingham and Callum Crayston, who is 19 and also from Workington is working at Bookers Wholesale Cash and Carry in Workington. They have both respectively worked in their roles since November 2017 as part of the Supported Internship programme.

Supported Internships are a collaboration between local colleges, a county wide employment provider and is funded by Cumbria County Council and the Department of Education. The scheme aims to provide support to students who have additional barriers to work.

Lakes College along with other local education providers have linked up with the Oaklea Trust/Right2Work, to deliver the provision during 2017/2018.

The support comprises various elements including: college preparation, getting job ready, identifying job opportunities, contacting prospective employers, support in the workplace and continuous liaison with colleges and employers. All participants undertake six weeks of employability training at the Lakes College which covers a variety of subjects including interview techniques and mock interviews with the student services team, which both boys praised highly.

Gary and Callum are both thoroughly enjoying their placements and very grateful for the great opportunities the local businesses are able to offer them.

Gary who suffers with cerebral palsy and autism stated “I get the bus from my house to work every day and I am always at work fifteen minutes early to ensure I am on time. My placement has been highly enjoyable and I have made friends. Before joining Right2Work I struggled to get a job and was ready to leave college, but the programme has given me the confidence I needed. I have even been filmed by Border TV, which I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing before.”

Callum who has Asperger’s syndrome recognised the difficulty some individuals face with disabilities to gain employment, for himself his major struggle has been with anxiety, however he has learned a lot of strategies to cope with his anxiety since joining the programme. Callum stated: “The support and structure that Right2Work have provided me has helped me to focus and get employment ready. I wish every college had this provision to help all students.”

Sue Hayman MP spoke very highly of the programme: “it is so important to support young people especially with the lack of support across the county for people with learning disabilities. Right2Work is an excellent way to provide young individuals with the confidence needed to get them into employment. I am so happy to support this.”

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