Little Gate Farm has launched its Supported Apprenticeship Scheme, following a grant from the National Lottery.
Creating apprenticeships for 50 young people with learning disabilities and autism, the Beckley-based charity hopes to bring job prospects and career fulfilment to adults that may have previously felt limited to seek such opportunities.
Recently celebrating its fifth birthday, the local good cause – which aims to enrich the lives of learning disabled, autistic, and vulnerable children and adults in East Sussex – has supported more than 40 people with autism and learning disabilities into paid work since 2014.
Little Gate Farm CEO and founder, Claire Cordell, said: “The new apprenticeship scheme means we can find real jobs for our young people aged 16 to 25 with local employers. We are really excited about the opportunities this will bring to local businesses as well as the enrichment it will bring to the apprentices involved.”
Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP) is one of the first businesses to back the scheme and will be supporting two apprentices in 2019.
Stewart Drew, DLWP CEO, said: “Little Gate Farm’s fantastic Supported Apprenticeship Scheme fits perfectly with the De La Warr Pavilion’s ethos of supporting the local area and giving our young people meaningful opportunities to immerse themselves into the world of work.
“We’re hugely excited to be involved and are all really looking forward to welcoming our new recruits later this year.”
The scheme will ensure that both the employer and apprentice will be fully supported by a job coach and training provider throughout the funded apprenticeship.
From hospitality to business administration, childcare to IT, landscaping to carpentry, the charity is keen to meet with employers who would like to be part of the scheme.
The charity has two apprentices currently working with employers in the local area.
Jordan is working towards his Level 2 in Health and Social Care at Southlands Care Home in Bexhill, and is due to graduate in April.
Jordan’s job coach Carol Wells said: “Jordan has grown in confidence. He is caring and compassionate and has overcome many barriers.”
Steven is also working towards his Level 2 in Health and Social Care at Ashridge Court in Bexhill.
Caroline Braime from Ashridge Court said: “Steven has a wonderful work ethic and he is an asset to the home.”
Huw Merriman MP is hugely supportive of the programme, adding: “I have been working closely with Little Gate Farm since 2015.
“They are an inspirational local organisation who are fully committed to providing work skills and fulfilling career opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism.
“I was delighted to learn that Little Gate Farm has now launched the new Supported Apprenticeships Scheme. I am fully supportive of this inclusive scheme and I am pleased that the De La Warr Pavilion is one of the first local employers to back it.
“I would encourage local employers to get involved in the scheme to discover how these enthusiastic and hard-working apprentices can be a real asset to their organisation.”
Find out more about the programme and meet Jordan and Steven, as well as the Little Gate Farm team, at the Bexhill Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair at the De La Warr Pavilion on Friday, April 5 or visit www.littlegate.org.uk.