Helping adults with learning difficulties or disabilities into work

Francis Keegan - IT intern

AN innovative employment programme, developed by Knowsley Council in partnership with Knowsley Community College, has successfully helped a number of Knowsley residents secure employment. 

The Knowsley Internship Programmme launched in September 2016 and offered work experience opportunities across a range of council service to 11 adults who have learning difficulties or disabilities.  Nine interns have subsequently secured employment, with the other two participants pursuing volunteering and training opportunities.

Due to the success of the programme, the council has welcomed a further intake of ten adults onto the programme from September 2017. They are working in a range of council services including Grounds Maintenance, Environmental Services, Administration, Catering and Security.

Francis Keenan, an intern in the Council’s IT Service said: “I enjoy learning new skills and being part of a team, working in a hands-on environment.”

Francis’ mentor, Stephen Towner, added: “Francis has developed a broad range of technical skills and we are now starting to introduce customer services skills too to his working day.  Having Francis as part of our team enables us to share our knowledge with a young person who is interested and keen to learn.  It’s great to see someone develop their ability and confidence.”

Jack Higgins is working with the Street Scene team and said: “I enjoy being part of the team and doing practical work being out and about in different areas.”

The programme provides invaluable work experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications as well as boosting their confidence and social skills.  They are mentored by council staff across as well as attending weekly training session around employability, literacy and numeracy, run by tutors from Knowsley Community College.

Cllr Joan Lilly, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “It is fantastic to see the results delivered by this programme and to watch the young adults develop their skills and grow in confidence.  We know they had a valuable contribution to make – they just needed an opportunity to show their potential and shine.  And that’s what we have done.  Our participants have gained invaluable knowledge, skills and qualifications whilst working on the job, and can now confidently demonstrate their value to any employer. I look forward to welcoming more interns and local employers on to the programme as we hope to expand the programme out across the borough, providing even greater choice for participants.”