A Coventry teenager has earned a permanent job at Ansty Hall Hotel after completing a supported internship there.
Michelle Reeves began her placement at the hotel last September as part of a programme run in conjunction with Exhall Grange Specialist School and WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) that aims to help young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) who may have learning difficulties and disabilities to develop transferable skills and gain valuable workplace experience.
The 19-year-old from Canley spent time working with various teams across the four-star hotel’s operations, while studying a BTEC in Workskills at Moreton Morrell College, which is part of WCG.
But it was in the kitchen that Michelle thrived and where she impressed the kitchen team so much, they offered her a permanent job as a kitchen assistant, which involves, among other things, vegetable preparation and baking. She will also now complete a food hygiene course.
Michelle said “My confidence has grown since I started the supported internship at Ansty Hall. It gave me a chance to work in different departments across the hotel with support from Nicola, my job coach from Exhall Grange Special school.
“I learnt new skills and gradually I became more independent in my role. I love working in the kitchen, it is hard work but it’s great being part of such a supportive team. I would definitely recommend the supportive internship as you will be surprised at how much you learn and develop.”
Erwin Middel, Hotel Manager of Ansty Hall Hotel, said: “Michelle started with us right at the time that new restrictions were being introduced, because of the pandemic that eventually meant we had to close again, so it was a challenging time for us all.
“She showed so much resilience and adaptability in the face of those challenges but remained positive and was keen to get on with the job and learn as much as she could.
“It’s been a real pleasure to see how her confidence has grown, and everyone she has worked with and interacted with throughout the hotel has been impressed with her work ethic. Her own difficulties have certainly not held her back, she’s been a real star.”
Exhall Grange Specialist School set up the supported internship at Ansty Hall Hotel for young people aged 16 to 25 with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) in 2018, and in 2020 started working with students from WCG. A dedicated job coach is provided to support each intern during their time with a company, all of which is government funded and free to the employer.
Chris Healy, Head of Department for Supported Learning at WCG, said: “Supported internships are an incredible opportunity for businesses like Ansty Hall Hotel to make a real difference to the lives of our young people and boost their workforce at the same time. It’s great testament to the commitment and enthusiasm Michelle has shown during her placement there that she has been offered and accepted a permanent job.”
Employers interested in finding out more about supported internships and how they can support students into employment should contact Chris Healy on 0300 135 6243 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit wcg.ac.uk/supportedinternships
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