Gower College Swansea have successfully launched a series of new work internships with students in the independent living skills (ILS) department, working up to five days a week in various sectors in Morriston Hospital and the wider community.
Students are being recognised by big name employers as valuable contributors in the workplace and these budding partnerships are also giving opportunities to students with additional learning needs (ALN) to gain work experience to evidence on their CVs and find paid employment.
Morriston Hospital and local businesses are championing the benefits of working with students who have an additional learning needs at Gower College Swansea. The catering manager at the hospital, Jessica James, remarked how “Sophie has really impressed with her work ethic here” and how “it’s a valuable learning curve for some of my staff to work with people who have an ALN; helping them to set boundaries and offer general support.
"Recognising what people can do, rather than what they cannot, is empowering not only for our interns but for our employees too. I'm delighted we are developing a more inclusive culture in our workplaces."
Four students on placements at Morriston Hospital offer their daily services in the kitchen stores, catering team, linen room, and one student is helping to prepare surgical instruments in the HSDU department, with great feedback.
Businesses such as Co-op, The Grand Hotel, Café Metro, Ware-house Gym and Greyhound Rescue Wales are exercising their social corporate responsibility charters by having one of a further five work interns to help them on day-to-day tasks such as stocking shelves, housekeeping, hospitality, serving food and maintaining high standards of service and quality across each sector.
Lyall in Co-op says, “I love coming to work and I love it here in the Co-Op. I can’t wait to get up every morning and do it again every day and the people here are really nice, and they are so supportive.”
Work coach Ryan Bath who provides on job support to students, remarks how “this is such a rewarding role and it's outstanding to see students progress not only in employability skills but flourishing similarly in vital life and social skills.”
The course tutor/assessor from Gower College Swansea, Angela Smith, says “I have been so impressed and encouraged by the response and support shown to our students on all our work placements.
"To settle our students into unfamiliar roles and watch them blossom from week to week is a privilege and being a part of such a brilliant UK and Welsh Government led initiative to get people with ALNs into paid employment is a long time coming.
"From what local employers have been telling us, programmes like this could mark the beginning of an inspirational journey to close the gap between our students being in college and the leap into paid work.”
Last year, former student James Griffiths successfully gained paid employment after proving a formidable work ethic as an intern at the Ware-house Gym in Swansea. Today, he is “probably one of our best employees here” says supervisor Olivia Knill.
James is also now helping to mentor a new work intern and current student Callum East, leading the way on how to deliver quality and excellence across this state-of-the-art gym multiplex.
Learning Area Manager at Gower College Swansea, Simon Pardoe, says he is feeling optimistic about the future, adding “As our students enter their final year with the ILS department, it’s really exciting to see them putting into practice the employability skills they have developed over the past three years.”
If your business would like to access information about the work internship programme in the ILS department at Gower College Swansea, please email your expression of interest to work placement co-ordinator Samantha Howells at Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org .