Supported Internships Success for College Students

Eleven students with special educational needs and disabilities from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) have been celebrating the successful completion of their supported internship programmes.

The students completed placements with seven employers including Nuneaton Signs, Leicester Riders Basketball and Ansty Golf Club. As a result of their involvement in the scheme, four students have secured permanent employment. Tom Kitchin, Reece Childs, and James Davies are now working at Nuneaton Signs, and James Robinson has secured an apprenticeship role at Ansty Golf Club. In addition, Chris Brierley is working on a voluntary basis at the MIRA Technology Institute and Reece Armstrong is volunteering with Menphys. Thanks to a developing partnership with Balfour Beatty VINCI HS2 the college is hoping to secure an interview for one of its interns to secure a year’s paid placement within the business.

The students’ achievements were marked at an awards ceremony held at the college’s creative arts Hinckley Campus on 22 June where they were entertained during the evening by performing arts and music students.

Tom Kitchin joined Nuneaton Signs as part of the supported internships programme which was designed to provide support and guidance to individuals with disabilities, helping them develop essential skills and gain experience in the workplace. Tom’s hidden disabilities of autism, dyslexia, and anxiety presented unique challenges, but NWSLC and Nuneaton Signs worked together to create an inclusive and supportive environment. The welcoming atmosphere at Nuneaton Signs made work feel like a second family to Tom, where he felt a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Holly Hunter, Head of Social Value and Marketing at Nuneaton Signs said, “Tom’s professional development at Nuneaton Signs has been remarkable. Tom has enhanced his technical skills and takes on more challenging tasks and he has worked in all areas of the company, from the factory and printing to graphic design and customer service in the office. The supportive and inclusive atmosphere has not only positively influenced Tom’s professional journey but has also extended to his personal life. Tom feels a sense of belonging and acceptance, which has improved his overall happiness and fulfilment.”

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “Our celebration event was a wonderful occasion that demonstrates how young people with special educational needs or disabilities can thrive and make a positive contribution to society with the right support. Our programme was launched two years ago and has been so successful, we have been increasing our team of job coaches so that we can offer additional roles within the local area. Congratulations the class of ‘23 and we look forward to welcoming new interns to the programme in the next academic year.”

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