More than 170 delegates from business, education and the government attended the Working Together conference, hosted by National Grid at their headquarters in Warwick, aimed at developing employment opportunities for students with visible and non-visible disabilities.
Building on the success of last year’s EmployAbility partnership scheme, which saw local schools and colleges in Warwickshire coming together to begin breaking down the barriers of working with and employing people with additional needs, the Working Together conference is the culmination of the support and input National Grid has offered in helping students with disabilities find internships.
Nick Winser, Executive Director of National Grid UK, said: “Providing supported internships for students with disabilities, including autism, has delivered amazing results. The students have developed their confidence beyond expectations. Our employees have been inspired by the students’ ‘can do’ attitude and we have identified long term roles to match the skills and aspirations of the students that have been with us.”
One Hereward College student who is benefitting from the scheme is Asif Ali. Asif has been attending National Grid for the past year, while also completing his BTEC Level 3. As a result of this hands-on experience, Asif has obtained a temporary job within National Grid’s Information Systems department, with the possibility of further work after the summer.
Asif said: “This is a brilliant start my career; the skills I’ve learnt have been amazing and the atmosphere at National Grid has been very supportive. I’m really grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Hereward’s Vice Principal for Quality and Curriculum, Mike Shaw, is keen to see the scheme develop: “We have a very ambitious plan for the coming years to identify more employers with whom to link and build similar programmes. It is very clear from companies who have embarked upon such programmes around the country that this work is beneficial to both students and businesses; this is the message we need to get out to other employers.”
Hereward College is a general further education college located in Tile Hill Lane, Coventry, providing both day and residential places. The college welcomes all learners including those with diverse and complex support requirements. In addition to the residential learners, day disabled and non-disabled learners also attend the college. www.hereward.ac.uk
National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. They own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source. In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US they run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities. www.nationalgridmedia.com