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College and Crowne Plaza join forces to launch internship scheme

11 January 2019

Solihull College & University Centre and the Crowne Plaza in Solihull have launched an internship scheme.

The internship scheme is described by the college as a structured study programme, with students spending a majority of their time at local employers in Solihull.

Crowne Plaza is one of the first businesses in the area to partner with the college on the programme.

The programme is designed to enable young people with special educational needs and disabilities to secure paid employment, by equipping them with the skills they need for work through learning in the workplace.

The roles include hospitality, catering, office work and warehousing.

Each student will have access to a job coach who will support their on the job training.

Students will spend three days a week working their jobs in the academic year.

The college supports students with Maths and English, employability skills and CV writing.

Currently, there are three students working on the supported internship with the Crowne Plaza, Ilma, a deaf student who works in housekeeping, and Declan and Shane, working in the food and beverage department.

Natalia Dainty, HR Manager at the Crowne Plaza, said: "We were interested because we have an array of team members with additional or mental health needs.

"Bringing people into the hotel with additional needs is good for the local community. We feel this is hugely important.

"We have a deaf worker at our hotel and to see her journey over 15 years has been amazing, she is now a room attendant.

"Partnering with supported internship programmes is a chance for employers to give something back to the local community and working with the College, we have also found a great recruitment partnership."

Head chef Ian (pictured), who works alongside Shane, said: "Shane is really enthusiastic in the kitchens and has a positive attitude. Jean helps to break the job down for him. He’s able to interact much more competently now. It takes a bit of time to support somebody but it is rewarding as you watch them grow in confidence. He organises deliveries and breaks and is an asset to the team."

Sallie Partridge, lead coordinator for supported internships at the college, said: "The Crowne have been incredibly supportive.

"They have been open to changing their way of working to fit the learners. It’s the first time this programme has been done and it is a real joint effort.

"In the hospitality industry, there is a need to be versatile, and flexible. The business is about adapting. This is good for business, we have a social responsibility, and we found out that organisations involved in internships were happier.

"Seeing the progress and development of an intern, supporting them and helping someone who wouldn’t have had the opportunity can bring employees job satisfaction."

If you would like to learn more about supported internships please visit https://www.solihull.ac.uk/course/supported-internships/.

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