Mava, James and Luke, Whitefriars Housing

Mava Matyhila, James Osborn and Luke Elson undertook work placements with Whitefriars Housing Cleanworks team, to support the maintenance of communal areas.

The young people were supported by a Hereward College Job Coach on­site at Whitefriars to help to ease their transition into the world of work:

“Mava, James and Luke have really grown in confidence since starting the internship and it’s great to see their progress.”

“The Supported Internship programme has helped to develop many skills for our interns, as well as gaining work experience and an opportunity to find work; they have benefitted from the development of several life skills including social, emotional and communication skills while also increasing their overall confidence.”

“The interns have been given the opportunity to learn and practice new skills in the real world, they’re learning how to develop strategies for themselves and deciding what choices to make, which is extremely empowering.”

“Supported Internships has such great value and is the bridge for people with learning disabilities between education and the world of work.”

In addition to the College Job Coach, Whitefriars Housing also allocated their own buddies to assist the interns with their daily tasks.

A cleaner who acted as a buddy for Luke said: “As Luke’s buddy I had to train him on how to do the various tasks within the Cleanworks team, including how to safely use our cleaning chemicals and equipment.”

“It has been an absolute pleasure to teach Luke and be his mentor. When Luke first started he was shy and quiet, but he is now very much part of the team and feels confident to work independently.”

Here’s what each of the interns had to say about the work experience:

Mava, aged 23

“I would recommend this work experience to my friends; it’s fun and you are always learning. It’s also a little bit better than college.”

“The cleaning was a bit difficult at first and it was hard to get used to it, but I can manage it now.”

“I’ve learned how to clean properly, including mopping, sweeping and window cleaning. These new skills are making me stronger and more confident.”

“I have enjoyed the cleaning work, meeting new people and being with the interns. I think I would like a future job in cleaning.”

James, aged 22

“I have learnt so much and I’m really enjoying the work experience. It’s great working with everyone. I’ve learned loads of new skills such as how to clean properly, how to deal with difficult situations and how to work with people.”

“I wanted to do the internship because it was another job I could do to get experience and I can use this in my other work as I’m also an organist and I have a grass cutting service. In the future there are loads of options for me and I think it’s important to keep the door open to everything.”

Luke, aged 19

“I wanted to do this internship to see what work life is like.”

“I am happy being at work, I have done lots of training and learnt new skills in cleaning and I can now use a Numatic floor cleaner.”

“When I first started I was a bit shy, I didn’t talk and I overcame that by talking more, laughing and smiling. I found the placement to be welcoming and I have made new friends. I would like to find a job in cleaning.”

“I would recommend this experience to my friends as it might inspire them to do something they enjoy and they might just get a job out of it.”

Luke has now secured permanent paid employment as a cleaner at Whitefriars Housing as a result of the college’s supported internship programme.

Clive Rose, CleanWorks supervisor at Whitefriars Housing says: “It has been a pleasure working with Luke and we’re thrilled he is now a permanent member of the team. All the interns were very shy to start with so we have enjoyed watching their confidence grow over the months. The internship programme has been a great success and we’re very pleased that we have been able to give these young people this opportunity at the start of their working life.”