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Learners from South Staffordshire College’s supported learning department have enjoyed a very successful experience while working at John Lewis as part of the supported internship programme. The group of six learners who are taking part in the college’s pilot supported internship scheme at Tamworth Campus, spent a week working at the John Lewis department store in Tamworth where they gained experience by shadowing employees and studying various aspects of the business, including stock management, customer service and recruitment.
The scheme was such a success that John Lewis have offered the supported learning department an annual placement with them.
Jess Heath busy preparing curtains to go on sale.
Each of the six learners who took part in the scheme were paired with a work-buddy for the week. Jess Heath (above) supported the home furnishings team, and her buddy, John Lewis employee Libby, explains how enthusiastic she was. “Jess was a really friendly young lady. She was very helpful when asked to take up a task.”
All of the learners enrolled onto this programme have additional learning needs. Each student attends employability training workshops which include NOCN qualifications in travelling to work, dealing with problems at work, action planning and much more. In addition to this, the learners are studying maths and English Functional Skills qualifications.
The supported internship provides work placements to learners who are accompanied by a Senior Job Coach. This allows the learners to settle quickly into a new workplace as they have a familiar support network available to them. The Senior Job Coach also offers support to the company in terms of understanding the various support needs of the learners and offering advice on how best to encourage and challenge them.
The aim of the supported internship is to deliver practical and theoretical employability training, ongoing development in literacy and numeracy, improve confidence, provide work placements in a variety of areas, provide a support network, integrate learners into work placements to develop an understanding of the day to day structure of the workplace and encourage learners to explore different jobs by providing invaluable experience and knowledge through work experience.