A new type of internship has been offered to young people with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions to help them find a job.
The one-year Reach Supported Internship Programme is aimed at students aged 16-24, offering a support team that includes an instructor and a supported employment specialist giving one-to-one advice.
Barking and Dagenham College is behind the new scheme, working with local employers, and the first three internships at Barking Riverside Ltd, L&Q and ENVAC are already underway.
The students work in three different departments to gain experience of varying job roles and workplace skills. One of them, Alex Smyth, 18, from Dagenham has Asperger’s Syndrome which affects his social skills as well as ability to pay attention and listen.
Dave Buckley, ENVAC managing director, said: “Alex is a great lad. Initially quiet but who has opened up as he has got to know the team. He can be trusted to get on with his jobs unsupervised and will contribute to discussions within the office. Additionally what he doesn’t know about games and gaming isn’t worth knowing!”
Jordan Ruhuma, 19, from Newham, has moderate learning difficulties, and has benefitted from one-to-one support at his work placement at L&Q Construction.
Steve Haywood, senior site manager at L&Q, said: “Jordan is a great addition to our team. He is always smiling and is keen to learn new skills and mixes well with the rest of the team.”
Barking & Dagenham College is one of the leading providers of intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship training in London, training around 1000 apprentices and working with around 300 employer clients each year. Its specialisms include construction, project management, human resources management, business and pharmacy.