Warwickshire College Group partners with National Grid on work placement

Eleni Panopoulou (WCG Job Coach), Louise Saunders (National Grid), Ethan, Dan, Mark Pickles (National Grid) and Katie Boxall (National Grid).
National Grid 2

A partnership between a leading college group and National Grid is helping students get ahead by gaining valuable workplace experience and transferrable skills as it enters its fifth year.

Three students at WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) have started supported internships at the electricity and gas utility company’s Warwick office.

Olly, Dan and Ethan have already completed their first research project to develop their understanding of the business and wider industry. The trio presented their findings to National Grid management and to WCG’s Director of Schools, Re-engagement and SEND, Louise Ball.

Over the course of the year-long supported internships the students will take up placements around the business and gain experience in a wide range of roles.

The supported internships scheme at WCG is aimed at young people aged 17 to 25 who have learning difficulties and disabilities.

The partnership between the college’s supported learning team and National Grid grew out of the company’s EmployAbility programme – which aims at helping people with learning difficulties develop skills to gain paid employment.

National Grid and WCG’s partnership is now in its fifth year and Louise Ball says it has already helped many young people to reach their full potential.

“It has been a pleasure working with National Grid over the past few years and the experience they provide for the interns is invaluable,” said Louise.

“It is great to see our students gain the key employability skills and grow in confidence during their time on placement.

“This partnership has already secured paid employment for a number of previous interns and no doubt it will result in more successes in the future.”

WCG provides a dedicated job coach to support interns during their time with a company, which is government funded and free to the employer.

Katie Boxall, Warwick lead for National Grid’s EmployAbility initiative, added: “We know that the interview process can be a daunting barrier for someone with SEND. Our EmployAbility initiative looks to break down that interview process, distil it over a number of months and give these young people the confidence that they can do the role.

“The current group of students are doing an amazing job and have settled in really well at our Warwick offices.

“Our average success rate of employment for students after completing internships with us is at 60 per cent and this proves they are a great means of providing opportunities for young people to enter the workforce.”

WCG, which has colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire, is looking to partner with more businesses to help deliver supported internships and work experience.