Supported internship success as students secure full time jobs

Students from Hereward College who have a range of disabilities and additional needs have turned internships into full-time permanent employment at WM Housing.

Mikael Casey, Kane Pitt, Alex Nghiem, and Richard O’Hara from Coventry, successfully applied for jobs at WM Housing Group after participating in a supported internship programme with the social landlord. Kane and Richard have secured roles with Cleanworks communal cleaning team in Coventry, Alex is now working in an administrative role for Cleanworks Birmingham, & Mikael is working in his new job with Finance Team at WM head offices in Birmingham Business Park.

Supported internships are a Government approved hands-on work experience programme combined with one day of studying at college each week. The WM Housing Group programme is run by Hereward College, Coventry, and aimed at young people (aged 18 to 24) who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, and need extra support to move into employment. WM Housing Group hosted nine supported internships from September 2017 – June 2018 in a range of teams in Coventry and at our head office in Birmingham Business Park. All of the interns made a real success of their internships, developing their confidence and skills and gaining valuable work experience. Those who have not yet secured a job are currently working hard to find a suitable job or training and WM and Hereward College are supporting them with their next steps.

Statistics show that disabled people have only a 7% likelihood of finding paid employment and supported internships are increasingly successful in providing a platform for young disabled people to further develop their skills and experience in a structured way.

Claire Hardwick, Head of Customer Involvement and Engagement at WM Housing, said: “We are delighted that the supported internship programme has been so successful again this year. All the nine interns made a real success of their internships. The fact that Mikael, Kane, Richard and Alex have all secured permanent paid positions within WM Housing is a wonderful result for them and WM Housing Group – who now have four great new employees.”

“They have worked so hard on their internships with us and we are sure they will make a real success of their new roles within the organisation.

“The staff at WM Housing also benefit enormously by working alongside the supported interns and seeing how they have grown and developed in confidence and skills during the course of their supported internship. It has been such a success that we will continue with the programme for the next academic year with six new interns starting in September.”

As a college for young people with disabilities and additional needs, Hereward provides its learners with a varied curriculum that focuses on skills for independent living and employment.

A supported internship is available to all young people aged 18-24 who have an EHC plan and are keen to get into employment.

The college works with a range of partner employers and the young people spend up to 30 hours a week working in different areas to gain valuable experience with the support of an on-site Hereward Job Coach.

The interns also spend one day a week at Hereward College to study a City & Guilds qualification in Employability Skills and can take maths and English qualifications suitable to their level.