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Anthony’s found a job he loves, thanks to supported employment programme

by Gemma Melling

One of the first participants on the Knowsley Supported Internship programme and Knowsley Empower Job Carving programme is celebrating after being offered a permanent position doing a job he loves.

Anthony (Ant) Cunningham, aged 22 from Kirkby, was one of the first people to join the Supported Internship programme when it was launched in 2016, supporting young adults (aged 19-25 years) with a learning difficulty and / or disability into employment.  The programme was developed by Knowsley Council and Knowsley Community College and over the last three years, it has supported more than 30 young adults by offering work experience placements, along with other employment support, over an academic year.

Ant’s work experience was in Knowsley Council’s Fleet Services Department as a Fleet Administrator.  On a daily basis, Ant liaised with office staff, drivers and visitors and along with carrying out his administrative duties, Ant developed strong teamwork skills, employability skills, communication skills as well as his confidence too – so much so that when the internship finished, Ant was offered a paid position within the council.

Ant has further enhanced his skills by helping to deliver the council’s free disability awareness training to local businesses.  Ant’s presentation to local companies talks about his role, how working has benefited him personally and how organisations can also benefit from employing a person with a learning difficulty and / or disability.

Thanks to the invaluable experience gained through the programme, Ant has now secured permanent employment as an Administration Assistant at Caring Connections, which was created through the concept of Job Carving.

This is a great example of how Knowsley Better Together is enhancing the lives of residents – bringing people and organisations together for the benefit of Knowsley and the borough.

Knowsley’s Empower Job Carving programme offers paid employment opportunities to people with learning difficulties and / or disabilities.  Less skilled tasks from different jobs are combined into a single role ideally suited for a person with a learning difficulty and/or disability, which frees up time for other staff to concentrate on the more skilled aspects of their roles.

Paul Growney, CEO of Caring Connections, said: “It’s been a really positive experience being involved with the job carving programme and we are really happy to have Ant come on board. Ant has already completed a work experience placement here at Caring Connections.  He gelled with the team immediately and has already been an excellent addition to the workforce. The support provided by the council is excellent and I would highly recommend other businesses to get involved with the programme.”

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This is fantastic news and I’m delighted that Ant was given an opportunity to shine and demonstrate the skills he can bring to the workplace. I know our team in Fleet Services will miss him, but everyone at the council would like to wish Ant the very best of luck in his new job at Caring Connections. Well done!”

If you would like to find out more about the Empower Job Carving programme in Knowsley, contact Sue Temple-Fielding, Supported Employment Co-ordinator on 0151 443 3054 or 07976 582 255, or get in touch with Sue by email.