Proud to host the Supported Internship Programme

27 March 2023

We’re so excited to be working with Dudley College as they bring their Supported Internship Programme to the centre – making us the first major employer in the Dudley area to get involved.

The Supported Internship Programme is a structured work-based study programme, giving four young adults with special educational needs and disabilities the opportunity to take their first steps into the workplace. Each budding intern has started a six-month-long placement at the centre, gaining new skills and building confidence in a working environment.

As one of the leading employers in the West Midlands, supporting over 8,000 jobs, the centre’s wide range of departments has allowed all four interns to pursue their own interests. Picking an area of the business they are most passionate about, working across environmental services, maintenance and customer services.

Now more than halfway through their placements, the interns are fully integrated into their roles and already thriving with the support of the centre team. They are learning and growing in a supportive workplace setting, allowing them to gain real employability, work skills and independence.

The introduction of the Supported Internship programme comes in time for the inaugural National Supported Internship Day being recognised on 27th March in the UK.

Christina Martin, Retail Liaison Manager at Merry Hill, said: “The Supported Internship Programme is a fantastic scheme which is giving these young adults the chance to grow their skills and confidence alongside our amazing teams at Merry Hill. Thanks to the intern’s eagerness to progress and learn, they have already been a huge success and we’re enjoying supporting their journey.

“As a leading local employer, we know it’s our duty to help our community access support and opportunities. We encourage other businesses in our community to consider supporting the programme and to help recognise the importance of these internship placements for the huge platform they offer young adults in the local area with special educational needs and disabilities.”

Kate Gibbs, Aspire Job Coach at Dudley College of Technology, said: “Supported internships provide a programme for learners to move from education into employment. The interns spend most of their time in the workplace with the support of a specially trained job coach, who will help them gain confidence and independence, enabling them to become valued members of staff.

“The involvement of local employers is key in creating accessible opportunities for paid employment for local young people with SEND.

“Merry Hill have gone above and beyond working alongside Dudley College of Technology to offer inspirational and professional support for those taking their first steps into the world of work, towards paid employment.”