A new Employment Hub has been launched to help young people with disabilities gain employment in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Representatives from around 60 businesses, schools and local authorities attended the launch event to hear more about its work with employers to bridge the disability employment gap.
The Employment Hub at Hereward College will help young people to source work placements, skills training, support in the workplace, money management advice and training, benefit advice and travel training.
It will also support employers with disability awareness training, analysing and adapting job roles and promoting good employment practice.
Paul Cook, Principal at Hereward College, Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub, and Jane Holmes, Partnership Manager at the Department for Work and Pensions, gave the keynote speeches.
Paul said the Employment Hub has been set-up to help secure permanent jobs for its learners.
He said: “The idea of launching our Employment Hub is to bring together students and employers and we believe this project will make a big difference.
“The enthusiasm shown by the employers we already work with is inspiring for us as a college and our learners.
“We currently deliver a supported internship programme as a way of achieving sustainable employment and we believe it is one of the best vehicles to have emerged over the last ten years.
“The Growth Hub in connection with the CWLEP are going to help us secure business mentors for our learners.
“We have a number of learners here that want to work for themselves. They have ideas, motivation and tenacity and they just need to have a little bit of guidance along the way.
“We have the network now with the business community in Coventry and Warwickshire which has opened up new opportunities for our learners that we haven’t had before so this Employment Hub is going to be a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved.”
Craig said he and his team at the CWLEP Growth Hub would be working hard to ensure this new scheme was inclusive to all.
“The Employment Hub will broaden the choice of employees for businesses and become a centre of excellence for young people with disabilities throughout Coventry and Warwickshire,” he said. “It will provide a one-stop shop for businesses and students of Hereward College.
“At a time when the economy has challenges, we need to open up career pathways instead of young people having a single-minded focus of going to university and not considering vocational training.
“We need to ensure the Employment Hub succeeds and as UK City of Culture in 2021, we must have social mobility at our core throughout Coventry and Warwickshire.
“Any opportunity should be open to all and having this Employment Hub means we can provide solutions to businesses.”