From education to employment

Project secures work placements for student with learning difficulties

A Preston College and Cardinal Newman College project has helped 13 students with learning difficulties secure work placements with local businesses.

The Invest to Change project aims to forge links with Preston employers and encourage them to offer work placements for students with learning disabilities.

Dave Nickeas, project leader at Preston College, said: "We were delighted with the high level of interest in the event and we received very positive feedback from employers who attended.

"We’re working closely with Progress Recruitment, a Supported Employment specialist, to develop our work placement programme. Thirteen placements have already been confirmed and we expect to secure opportunities for another seven students by the end of the month."

In total, 50 people attended a breakfast seminar at Preston College’s Fulwood campus on March 6, including representatives ranging from Preston City Council to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It is estimated that almost three per cent of the UK population have a learning disability, of which 800,000 are of working age. According to research, 81 per cent of these people want to work and contribute to society. Once in employment, they have statistically higher attendance and retention rates than other employees.

Mr Nickeas added: "My hope is that we will build strong and lasting relationships with local employers who can help us build a sustainable base for the project in years to come."

Dave Nickeas, Invest to Change project leader at Preston College

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