Developing life and work skills

Employment is a key part of being independent. That’s why we run training and employment programmes which help people who need support to learn new skills, grow in confidence and find fulfilling jobs.

We support businesses too. Our disability equality training workshops help employers support disabled staff and make the most of every individual’s talents.

Work and skills infographic

Key facts

  • 368 applications, 110 universities, placed 51 students with 24 employers
  • Increased placements by 450%
  • 1,300 students providing over 6000 volunteering opportunities 

What we achieved last year

We aimed to:

  1. Change100 interns talkingMake sure the Change100 scheme reaches at least 50 students and 25 major international companies. Change100 is our flagship work programme. It offers three-month paid summer work placements with some of the UK’s leading employers, helping young disabled students and recent graduates find work.

    Last year was the programme’s second year. We had 368 applications from disabled graduates at over 110 universities. After shortlisting and assessing 240 of them, we placed 51 students with 24 employers including: Barclays; the BBC; the Department of Health; and SAB Miller. We also placed some students within our own teams. We increased placement numbers by 450% on our pilot year.

    Best of all, participants on both sides benefited. 100% of disabled students said that their experience has improved their confidence and strengthened their CV, and 92% said it helped them to understand their disability in the context of work. And 100% of employers said they would recommend the programme.

  2. Develop inclusive social care apprenticeships within Leonard Cheshire Disability, and work with businesses to test an apprenticeship scheme (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) apprenticeships proved harder than expected and we made the decision to scale back our activity. However, we’re still actively looking for funding to support this.

    Our work to develop social care apprenticeships internally was overtaken by the announcement in the summer Budget about the Apprenticeship Levy. Payable by organisations with a wage bill of £3 million or more, this levy is designed to fund and deliver new apprenticeships and support quality training to develop vocational skills.

  3. Pilot new high street retail operations, with opportunities for disabled people. We created a detailed business plan to show how we might develop a network of Leonard Cheshire Disability charity shops on the high street. Due to the general economic climate, we felt it was prudent to put this on hold.

Going beyond our goals

Can Do volunteer raising moneyWe also continued with Can Do, our programme that helps disabled people between 16-35 into volunteering.

By volunteering through our flagship programme, Can Do, disabled people can learn new skills, build their confidence, and make a great contribution to their community. Last year we expanded the programme and it is now available in 12 locations across the UK, thanks to increased funding from the Cabinet Office and The Pears Foundation.

Our goals for next year

Next year we will:

  • Grow and diversify our life and work skills programmes to deliver sustainable projects.
  • For example, our Can Do volunteering programme to support young disabled people in more areas across the UK.
  • Develop new programmes — for example, our mentoring programme for young people in mainstream education to support them on their journey to employment.
  • Ensure all life and work skills programmes help create more choice for the individual.

Maisie's story

Maisie Golding Change100 2015Maisie Golding is a student at the University of Kent. She’s studying for a BA in Drama and Multimedia. Maisie did a Change100 placement at the media company Wall to Wall, where she worked on everything from archive research and location sourcing to PR and props.

‘I was able to see a production develop and begin to understand the professional process.

‘I feel I could enter the media production industry with the skills I have gained and I also know this is now the career I definitely want.’

Maisie was particularly pleased that the Wall to Wall team was so supportive.

‘They have been so committed to my personal development, allowing me to discuss career paths with many media professionals and gain skills in as many roles as possible.

‘My confidence has shot up. I was able to talk about my disability openly and learnt it was OK to talk about it. For the first time I feel like I can have worth after university.’