As we move out of lockdown, more and more work placements are starting up within the Supported Internship Programme. Whilst some things look a little different, our values and approach are still very much the same.

We believe that all people should be valued as individuals. People with learning difficulties and/or autism should be fully involved in all areas of society, including in the workplace, contributing their specific skills, talents and experiences. As per our 'Wider Values', our value of 'Progression' means we support people to work towards and achieve their goals and develop their skills and interests. Even under exceptional circumstances, during a pandemic, people can be seen, heard and belong, with bemix.

We are still...

We are still working with some amazing businesses to create reasonable adjustments, so that young people with learning difficulties and/or autism are able to achieve their full potential in the workplace. Young people who may go on to gain paid work as valued employees.

We are still matching each intern to each work placement, taking into account the individual needs, passions and skills of every young person, along with every business's unique requirements.

We are still offering Disability Awareness training to employers who would like it. We are still offering employers support and guidance from trained work coaches, so they are able to understand and support their intern in a way that suits both the young person and the business.

However, we have had to make some small but important changes to the way we do things so that interns can continue to be seen, heard and belong within the community safely.

Some recent highlights in Swale include Steven working as a Kitchen Porter at The Phoenix Tavern in Faversham.  Callum has also started his induction at SGS Energy from home, demonstrating how we have adapted to the new way of office work. After the most recent easing of national lockdown (in April 2021), Callum was finally able to work from the SGS offices, after making a strong start training remotely at home. 

In Medway, a number of young people have also started their work placements. Having held a lifelong ambition of having a career in the care industry, Naomi has joined Victory Care Home, a residential care home for older people in Chatham. Britney has joined B&M in Strood as a Store Assistant, gaining valuable customer service and retail experience. Jack has been working at F&F Automotive, a garage based in Maidstone where he is a Trainee Mechanic. Jack is also studying the basics of Mechanics. Paired with on-the-job experience, this means he is closer to realising his goal of becoming a fully qualified car mechanic.

Callum working remotely from home for SGS Energy

More detailed journey stories will be coming soon. Here's what interns have to say about their work placements:

Steven, intern at The Phoenix Tavern - “Well on the 12th everybody will be heading in the right direction, we hope, so on the 14th my mum's birthday she may come and see me at work. I love my job. I'm smashing it!"

Callum, intern at SGS Energy - "The technical difficulties have been challenging. In some ways working from home is easier because it gives the benefit of being able to do more research at your own pace. If I need to do remote work in the future I will be more confident to use video calls"

Naomi, intern at Victory Care Home - When we asked Naomi how she felt about her job, she said she is "very happy" and her favourite thing is "everything"!

Britney, intern at B&M - “I’m really enjoying my placement at B&M where I am a store assistant. I’m good at this job because I put the stock where it needs to go and I enjoy ticketing. The staff are really nice and they help me when I need it.” 

Naomi working at Victory Care Home

And here are a few words from our employers:

Kim, Director at The Phoenix Tavern, Faversham - “Steven is a huge asset to our kitchen and a valued member of the wider Phoenix team. He is calm, cheerful and has a positive, can-do attitude that is needed when launching a new business (a business that has been born straight into a post-lockdown world)! His attention to detail is exceptional and he embraces new challenges with enthusiasm. As the business begins to fully open and we enter this new chapter, we are very pleased that Steven is part of our team.”

Theresa, Home Manager at Victory Care Home -  “I consider aptitude is what you’re capable of accomplishing but enthusiasm determines whether you will be successful. Naomi’s eagerness and strength of character will help her reach whatever she sets her mind to”

Katie, Manager at B&M Strood - “Britney is a fast learner and very willing to learn. She has learnt how to put out stock and where things go, as well as more complex tasks such as ticketing. Britney can manage herself and her time, and will ask for help when she is unsure. She is a people person, so is good with customers and other staff members. Britney doesn’t know just how much she can do and how capable she is, which she is learning every day at B&M."

For more information about Supported Internships click here