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Asda recruits first permanent employees with learning disabilities from their Supported Internship programme

May 10, 2024 08:00am
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Asda recruits first permanent employees with learning disabilities from their Supported Internship programme
Asda recruits first permanent employees with learning disabilities from their Supported Internship programme

Asda has recruited its first permanent employees at their Queensferry store, following a successful supported internship programme in partnership with the charity DFN Project SEARCH and Coleg Cambria, a college local to the retailer’s Queensferry store.

Launching in the summer of 2023, Asda’s Supported Internship Programme and Coleg Cambria have worked closely with a group of young people with a learning disability or learning difficulty from the college to provide them with a full time course of study based at the store with access to work based experiential learning every day as well as a specific employability curriculum.

The programme set out to teach these students work skills and building confidence so that they can gain employment once their education finishes with any employer. Following a successful placement, Asda has now offered permanent positions to all five students within the Queensferry store.

Asda is aiming to expand the initiative later this year, with more stores and a larger intake helping to further strengthen its position as a diverse and inclusive employer.

DFN Project SEARCH aims to support 10,000 young adults with a learning disability, or autism spectrum condition (or both) into paid employment by 2030 and has already helped more than 2,000 people to date.

Hayley Tatum, Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer for Asda, said:We are delighted that this programme has been a success and congratulate all our interns who have been offered permanent positions. Our work with DFN Project SEARCH helps to provide valuable work experience to young adults with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for students to understand more about the workplace, learn new skills, and build confidence.

“In offering supported internship programmes such as these, we hope to give young people everything they need to gain employment with any employer in their last year of education. Programmes like this really do make a difference to people within our communities and we look forward to welcoming expanding this initiative further later this year."

Carmel McKeogh, Director of Operations for DFN Project SEARCH, added: “The General Store Manager and staff at the Asda’s Queensferry store have embraced the DFN Project SEARCH supported internship model with passion and enthusiasm, and have demonstrated what can be achieved with the right training and support. Both the Asda Managers and colleagues, and the team from Coleg Cambria ensured that the young people had the very best chance of success, and you cannot ask for more than 100% outcomes in your first year! We look forward to continuing working collaboratively with Asda and providing young people with great opportunities to develop their skills in retail.”

For more news and information from Coleg Cambria, visit www.cambria.ac.uk. Visit www.dfnprojectsearch.org for more from DFN Project Search.

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