Our use of cookies

We use strictly necessary cookies to make our site work. These cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work please see our privacy policy.

To agree to our use of analytical cookies, click the 'Accept cookies' button. No, give me more information.
Accept cookies Reject analytical cookies Manage cookies

Council recognises logistics firm as an outstanding employer for supporting young people with SEND

Posted on Wednesday 1st May 2024
NEWSROOM Wincanton

Wincanton has been recognised by Staffordshire County Council and Mencap as an outstanding employer supporting young people with SEND. Photo by Sam Carpenter.

Major logistics firm, Wincanton, has been recognised by Staffordshire County Council and learning disability charity Mencap as an Outstanding Employer in supporting young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). 

The supported internships programme, coordinated by the county council, is a work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds, where learners spend time both with an education provider and in the workplace, supported by a job coach. 

Students, supported by training provider Mencap, have completed extended work placements at Wincanton Screwfix in Trentham Lakes as part of the programme. 

Ben Matthews, 21, has been working as a dispatcher at Screwfix since November as part of the Mencap internship programme. 

Ben said:

“When I first walked in, I was very shy and nervous. Now, getting the uniform and being part of a massive team, confidence in me has grown from head to toe completely. I am very excited to come back to work every day. I always feel welcomed here and it has been an absolute honour to work here. 

“The best part of my placement is when I practiced on the trucks, this was very cool!” 

The supported internships programme is government-funded with no cost to businesses. There is full support from the education and training provider throughout the placement and there is no requirement to offer employment when a placement ends.   

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader, Philip White, said:

“Young people with SEND typically face more barriers in the workplace than the average employee. This is why we are committed to supporting them into employment by helping to increase invaluable training opportunities across Staffordshire under the supported internships programme.  

“I want to thank Wincanton and all the other outstanding Staffordshire businesses who have been championing young people with SEND, and I strongly urge businesses to sign up to the programme. It’s completely free, you get full support from education and training providers, and you will gain access to a diverse talent pool of young people like Ben." 

Equality, diversion and inclusion lead at Wincanton, Gez Prendergast, said:

"It’s a real privilege for the work that we’ve undertaken to be recognised. 

“I have seen people from a SEND background achieve employment and the care and passion of the people supporting them is infectious. The whole business and, most importantly, the person themselves gain experience and an understanding of how to adapt style and approach. A lot of our teams haven't had a chance to work with people from a SEND background anywhere else so the realisation that it’s all positive is amazing.” 

Programme coordinator at Mencap, Alix Barefoot, said:

“It has been wonderful to see the progress that Ben has made at Wincanton branch in Trentham. The training team have gone above and beyond to develop the students in their warehouse roles, ensuring they are matched with the right buddy and have the opportunity to explore different roles within the warehouse to find the most suitable one for each individual. 

“I feel it is important for businesses to be part of the Supported Internship programme, as this is a great alternative to recruiting new employees, as although it is a more long-term avenue, it is a way to ensure you have long-term, loyal members of staff who are so passionate about the work they do.” 

If you want to learn more about supported internships or you are a business interested in helping a young person into employment, visit Supported Internships - Staffordshire County Council.

Related Items

Sorry, there are no related items