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WHA is supporting Learning Disabilities Week by taking on new interns

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK, and almost half of 18-35 year olds with learning disabilities would like to spend more time outside their house (49%), while 18 per cent feel alone and cut off from other people, according to charity Mencap.

In conjunction with Warrington and Vale Royal College, we have begun taking on interns with learning disabilities.

Supported internships give young people aged between 16-24 with extra needs the opportunity to learn workplace skills to make them more employable and gain life experience. It also encourages them to socialise in different environments.

Gina Bennett, a job coach at Warrington and Vale Royal College, explained: “Internships are stepping stones between college and paid employment. For a year, students spend one day a week in college working on employability skill, such as CVs and appropriate workplace conduct as well as maths and English.

“For up to four days a week they are in their placement. We can provide one to one support in the workplace up to the level required by each student. The end goal is a paid position at the end of the course.”

Beth Fletcher, 20, has been working at WHA’s network for over 50s LifeTime one morning a week for around six months.

Gina said: “Beth is interested in care work and being a ward buddy so her placement was tailored around giving her a taster of working with people.”  

Her roles include joining members in groups and making them feel welcome, setting up rooms for meetings and activities, as well as serving behind the tea bar.

Lifetime officer Andrea Rees said: “Our CEO David Cummins was very keen to get involved in supported internships and Beth is our first placement.

“We love having her here, she is a pleasure to have around and is just starting to come out of her shell.  Our members love having a young person around to talk to.

“We hope the internship scheme increases disability awareness and workforce diversity, better reflecting the whole of the community we serve.”

For more information on Learning Disabilities Week go to https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/learning-disability-week-2019