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Pioneer George becomes Liverpool City Region’s first Inclusive Apprentice

In September 2019 three Supported Interns from Abbots Lea School, which is a school for children aged 3 -19 with Autism, started their internship with the Regenda Group.

The Internship was part of a national programme to enable young people with learning difficulties and / or disabilities, to experience work and become equipped with the skills to achieve long term employment.

George age 19, was one of the interns that joined Regenda and has recently been offered a full time Supported Apprenticeship with the Group’s social housing provider Regenda Homes. His role will be within the Assets team as a Data Apprentice.

The Supported Apprenticeship will ensure that George receives a person-centred approach meaning he will receive the appropriate support, mentoring or adjustments required for him to succeed in the role. The apprenticeship will offer hands-on experience, paid salary, and a Level 2 qualification in Business Administration.

Claire Caddick, Career Lead at Abbots Lea School which delivers the supported internship programme in partnership with local employers, commented:

“National statistics show that the rate of pupils going onto employment from Special Educational and Disability (SEND) schools is very low. Supported Internships and Apprenticeships have been designed to ensure that all young people have opportunities to break down those barriers and have the chance to work alongside employers like Regenda and explore an array of different job roles.”

Supported Apprenticeships are a natural progression from the Supported Internship programme, in raising aspirations and ensuring that all young people have opportunities to reach their goals. With other Supported Interns at Regenda going onto develop their skills in ICT and Digital Design at college, Supported Apprenticeship schemes are not the only route to success and more employers are recognising the benefits of neurodiversity to their business.

Mayor Joe Anderson, OBE, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment & Skills, said:

“Apprenticeships are about opportunities – both for businesses to train their future workforce and for young people to gain a new future.  Morally, we must do all we can to make sure young people with special educational needs and disabilities are supported to access these opportunities, which is why this initiative is so valuable.  Opening up the workforce to people from all backgrounds, through supported internships and apprenticeships and other routes, not only transforms the lives of the individuals involved, it also enables employers to tap into a much wider pool of talent and potential. I wish George the very best of luck with his new role.”

Michael Birkett, CEO of The Regenda Group commented:

“We are delighted that George has accepted the offer of a Supported Apprenticeship with The Regenda Group! Working in partnership with our training provider The Learning Foundry we hope George will have an enjoyable experience that enables him to fulfil his huge potential. As George has proved with Regenda, a diverse range of employees has massive benefits for business and we hope others across the region share our view.”

We asked George what his thoughts where on the securing an Apprenticeship with Regenda and how he felt about becoming the Region’s first Supported Apprentice, he said:

“I’m ecstatic to get this Apprenticeship. All my family and friends are really happy for me. It’s hard enough to get a job straight out of school, even for neurotypical people so it’s a real achievement and I’m proud of myself. I feel I’ve earned this opportunity and worked extremely hard to get here and I’m happy that the work has paid off”.