- Charity launched Change100 internship scheme to address under-representation of disabled people in work
- Applications for students to sign up to Change100 now extended until 17 March
Leonard Cheshire Disability has today announced that they are extending the deadline for students to apply for the internship scheme, Change100, as new placements have become available over the summer of 2014.
The charity launched the scheme to find talented disabled undergraduates to work in some of the UK’s leading companies as paid interns. The scheme aims to broaden the public’s understanding of what disability is, as well as highlight the fact that many disabled students are talented, ambitious, and would thrive in the business sector.
Students now have until 17 March to apply for the scheme. Successful applicants will get mentoring and guidance throughout their paid, three-month placement to support them to excel and thrive within the workplace.
Change100 has engaged with some of the UK’s leading companies and employers, including Experian, Prospects, SABMiller plc and Standard Life. They will all be taking students from summer 2014.
The scheme also supports businesses to become more confident about disability by giving advice and guidance about how to support employees with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
The charity has been overwhelmed by the positive response the scheme has received so far, with applications coming from students at 26 universities across the UK. 76% of applicants have learnt about the scheme through University services.
Change100 has engaged with universities across the country, with student representatives acting as disability champions on campus. Leonard Cheshire Disability also worked with a number of disabled role models, who overcame numerous challenges to secure successful careers in the corporate sector. Videos, hosted on the charity’s website detailing their inspirational stories have been watched over 600 times.
Peter Jenkins, Managing Director of External Affairs at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “The response we have had to the campaign so far has been fantastic. It really highlights that we have ambitious graduates keen to step up to the challenge of a summer internship, and also that companies are embracing the idea of tapping into the talent that disabled students can bring to an organisation.”
Geraldine Percival, Talent and Development Manager at the Corporate Offices of SABMiller plc said: “At SABMiller, our values espouse that people are our most enduring advantage. We aim to attract, acquire and develop the highest calibre people with the skills, behavioural characteristics and drive to help SABMiller achieve its strategic objectives.
“We are therefore delighted to be involved in Change100 in Partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability. This initiative offers internships to talented young people with disabilities. At SABMiller, we value and encourage diversity and participating in an internship scheme which supports disabled students on their journey to a successful career reinforces our commitment. Leonard Cheshire Disability has a wealth of knowledge and expertise on disability issues and employment, so we know we are in safe hands.”
The National Union of Students (NUS) has also shown its support for the scheme. Hannah Paterson, Disabled Students’ Officer at the NUS, said: “The high number of young disabled people that are unemployed is totally unacceptable. To date there have been very few workable solutions to improve this situation. A scheme like Change100 provides a real opportunity to get young disabled people into work, giving them the chance to develop their skills and grow in confidence. It also allows employers to benefit from the strength and resilience disabled people can bring to their workforce and dispel some of the preconceptions that exist around disability.”
In order to deliver Change100, Leonard Cheshire Disability will be partnering with Vanilla, a social enterprise also responsible for the non-profit sector graduate scheme Charityworks.
Rachel Whale, Managing Director of Vanilla, said: “The initial response to Change100 has made clear the terrific appetite and enthusiasm for this idea among not only employers, but also universities and students. We think disabled students coming to the end of their degrees have already demonstrated a great deal of talent and resilience, and we are excited about the opportunity Change100 offers for them to take those skills into the world of work.”
Leonard Cheshire Disability is one of the UK’s largest voluntary sector providers of services to disabled people. We support thousands of people with physical and learning disabilities in the UK and we work with Cheshire partner organisations in 54 countries around the world. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. Visit www.leonardcheshire.org