Internship Scheme Leads to Permanent Jobs for Students with Learning Difficulties

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Students with learning difficulties who took part in an internship scheme have secured permanent roles at a supermarket chain.

Following a successful internship and work experience programme over the last year, Asda announced they have offered learners permanent positions at the store in Queensferry.

Coleg Cambria and Asda’s Supported Internship Programme launched last summer.

In partnership with charity DFN Project Search, the retailer’s Queensferry store took on a group of Cambria’s Independent Living Skills (ILS) learners, providing full-time work experience on the shop floor and in the warehouse.

Following a successful placement, Asda have offered paid roles to Leah Aldridge, Cai Jones, Laura Woodward, Daniel Hodson and Courtney McGarry.

Leah, from Connah’s Quay, said:

“It is good to have been offered the job. I work hard and have learnt how to do tasks and work with my colleagues.

“I feel part of the team and I am really enjoying my role. Now I have a paid job I can buy things I like out of my wages and have a lot less stress over money as I did before.”

DFN Project Search aims to support 10,000 young adults with a learning disability, or autism spectrum condition – or both – into paid employment by 2030 and has already helped more than 2,000 people.

From September, Asda Queensferry will take on a group of eight learners annually to support the programme and further strengthen its position as a diverse and inclusive employer.

Store manager Adele Quinn said:

“We have seen a big change in all our interns since they joined in October last year. They have rotated around a range of departments working with their colleagues on the shop floor to gain the hands-on skills they need, they are trained to use our equipment and can do this with ease and confidence.

“They complete all different tasks from scanning, creating home shopping orders, helping with getting products on the shop floor, to serving customers on the tills.

“We are delighted the programme has been so successful, and our interns have gained employment.

“This demonstrates that programmes like this really do make a difference to people within our communities and we look forward to welcoming eight more learners to the Asda Queensferry family this September.”

Cambria’s Employability Mentor Becs Hitchen-Rielly added:

“We are so proud of the learners for their dedication and commitment to the programme. They are now reaping the rewards and on the way to successful careers in retail.

“We are thankful to Asda and DFN Project Search for this opportunity and future opportunities for our ILS students.

“This has shown them there are so many possibilities out there, that with confidence and support they can go on and have happy, successful lives.

“Importantly, they have loved every minute of working and gaining experience in such a warm, welcoming environment, making new friends and colleagues – it’s been an amazing experience for them, and we look forward to more learners joining them in the future.”

Asda’s Supported Internship programme is recruiting now for September and is designed to support learners locally with additional needs and disabilities to gain hands-on skills to move into employment.

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