Young people with learning disabilities are being supported into work through a new scheme launched by Liverpool City Council.
The council has teamed up with the Marriott Hotel, Hilton Hotel and grounds maintenance partner Glendale Liverpool to offer supported internship placements.
Just 6% of young people with learning disabilities in the city are currently in employment.
The aim of the scheme is to help them transition from education into the world of work, so they can live more independently and don’t become socially isolated.
Pupils from Sandfield Park School, Bank View High School and Myerscough College are working four days a week and spending the other day in lessons to build employability skills.
Councillor Nick Small, says: “Far too few young people with special needs achieve their potential because they are not given the opportunity to work.
“This scheme is about working closely with young people and employers to support them into the world of work and give them the opportunity to compete for jobs.”
Sarah Spoor, learning mentor and inclusion officer at Sandfield Park, adds: “I can honestly say that the supported internship programme is the best thing I have seen in all of the years I have been working with young people with special educational needs.
“For too long there have been poor outcomes for disabled young people leaving school or college and very few are able to find paid employment – this is not only unfair but it means that so much talent and skill is not being used or developed and sadly impacts on disabled young people’s aspirations and hopes for the future.
“It is a chance to develop work skills with support from a work coach to give the young person a real chance to get meaningful and paid employment.”
John Stanton, aged 17, from Sandfield Park School, who is working at the Liverpool Marriott Hotel in Queen Square, adds: “I really enjoy working at the Marriott Hotel as the staff are really nice and helpful.
“I think supported internships are good as it gives a chance to work in a work place. I would like to get a job here when the internship has finished.
“I enjoy everything about the placement, I love getting up the mornings to go to work.”