Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog about an innovative new internship programme that we had established at the council, delivered in partnership with Knowsley Community College.
It saw us take on 11 young adults (aged 19 to 25 years) with learning disabilities or difficulties, in various different roles across the council, offering them real experience of the world of work, as well as gaining qualifications, in the hope of helping them secure paid work in the future.
I know that many, if not all, of the young people involved had wanted to get jobs for some time, but had found it difficult to do so, or even believed that they would never find work, because of their disabilities. They came into the council and took up roles in departments including admin, security services and catering – and wow! they have impressed me, their colleagues and everyone who comes into contact with them with their enthusiasm and willingness to get stuck in as part of the team.
Now, their time as interns has come to an end, and I’m delighted to report that each and every one of the 11 has absolutely grasped the opportunity they’ve been given, and more than proved themselves capable of becoming a valued employee. Better still, 9 of them have already secured jobs – and we’re extremely hopeful that the other two will be able to say the same very soon.
At Council last week, it was fantastic to be able to invite the interns along to the meeting where their achievements were recognised by all present. I’m so proud, as the leader of the Labour party in Knowsley, to be able to show the rest of the country how well our council’s scheme has worked for us – not only for the interns themselves but also for the council teams and officers who have worked with them. I’ve found the interns a real delight when I’ve come across them in the council offices doing their day jobs – and it’s great to hear that their colleagues are similarly positive about the experience. Many of them have reported that they’ve taken a real personal satisfaction from welcoming the interns into the team and helping them develop their skills and knowledge. And it really does demonstrate that nobody needs to be left behind – all these individuals have more than proven their worth and showed us all just what they are able to offer.
So – a huge well done to our first intake of interns – and now, a big welcome to our next! Nine more interns joined us this earlier this month and with such great results last year I’m certainly expecting big things from this group, too. Watch this space!