Liverpool City Council has taken on young people with learning disabilities as part of a programme to help them into work.
The council has offered placements in a children’s centre, a respite centre and in its short breaks team as part of its Supported Internships programme.
Just six percent of young people with learning disabilities are in employment, and the aim of the scheme is to help them transition from education in to the world of work, so they can live more independently and don’t become socially isolated.
The three young people – Thomas Wilkinson, George Gilligan and Abbie Woodford – are all pupils at Greenbank College.
They are part of a wider scheme which has seen 12 companies offering a total of 36 placements for young people this year.
All the pupils are supported by a work coach who helps them get used to the routine expected when in employment, instructing and supporting them to build skills in the workplace to complete work tasks to a high level.
The scheme is proving successful – six of the nine interns from the inaugural intake last year have now secured paid employment.
Councillor Barbara Murray, Cabinet member for education, said: “This scheme is about working closely with young people, schools and employers to provide tailor made support into the world of work and give them the opportunity to compete for jobs and fulfil their potential.
“As one of the largest employers in the city it is really important that the city council leads by example and we will be getting other departments on board as well.
“We have already grown the scheme year-on-year and want to continue expanding it to involve more businesses and more opportunities for our young people.”
Although it will take time, the eventual aim is for every young person with disabilities that wants it to be given the chance to get paid employment.
Anne Kinsella from Greenbank College said: “Greenbank College is delighted to be working with Liverpool City Council on this project.
“Supported internships are all about promoting opportunities for disabled young people in this city to actively engage in the world of work, challenge preconceptions and the low employment rate of disabled people in Liverpool”.
Pictured are Interns Abbie Woodford, Thomas Wilkinson and George Gilligan.