4 October 2018 | Kevin Stanley
Service provider Amey is partnering with a special school in Woolton, Liverpool, to provide supported internships for young adults with learning disabilities.
Amey's FM team is running the scheme in partnership with Abbot's Lea School, which specialises in high-quality education for students with autism and a range of associated learning needs.
The supported internship, which formally started on 4 September and finishes in July 2019, will give six senior pupils the chance to gain real-life work experience in a professional work environment.
The group of young students will learn transferable work skills by working in the various shared services located at Amey's Matchworks office. Each intern will work for 10 weeks across departments including HR, IT, procurement and customer services.
The pupils will be supported by the intern job coach and they will continue with their numeracy and literacy sessions in a dedicated workspace. All managers supporting the interns are also being provided with awareness training on autism to guarantee that every pupil gets the correct support.
Becky Atherton, Amey's facilities manager for FM, defence and justice, who is responsible for getting the internship up and running, said: "This is something I felt very passionate about, having grown up with a brother who has autism and seen first-hand some of the barriers he's faced. The enthusiasm all our teams have shown to help get this partnership off the ground has been brilliant and makes me proud to work for a company that cares and strives for equality of opportunity for all. I'm looking forward to welcoming and working alongside the pupils - helping them to develop new skills and hopefully giving them the confidence to go on to gain a full-time role, hopefully with Amey."
Head teacher Ania Hildrey said: "The internships will give students the chance to gain real-life work experience in several areas within Amey's operations and hopefully act as a stepping stone to full-time employment."
Amey's shared services director Martin Rimmer added: "As an inclusive, diverse employer, it's vital we're leading the way to help break down any barriers that exist for people with learning needs and disabilities in the workplace."
The supported internship at Amey Shared Services at the Matchworks office builds on the successful internship Amey runs on its Sheffield Street Ahead Highways Contract, which recently won top prize in the Equality and Diversity category at the prestigious Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) Awards.