Sodexo, the world’s largest services company, has partnered with Ways into Work, an award winning Supported Employment Community Interest Company to try and improve employment outcomes for young people with disabilities.
As part of Johnson & Johnson’s Social Impact through Procurement program, Sodexo has provided Supported Internships for two pupils from Manor Green School, a Special Educational Needs school based in Maidenhead.
The two pupils work three days a week in the kitchen/ restaurant and mail room for the duration of the academic year, which started in September 2017. This is supported in the work place itself with Job Coaching from Ways into Work and by a personalised timetable at Manor Green School, focussing on Maths and English as well as topics relevant to the workplace, such as food hygiene.
‘Changing Lives One Job at a Time’ is part of a joint initiative between Sodexo and Johnson & Johnson, Manor Green School and Ways into Work. The program aims to support young people who face additional and sometime significant barriers to employment because of a disability. The national rate for employment for people with a Learning Disability is sitting alarmingly at about 5% – despite the fact that around 68% want to work.
The project is part of Sodexo’s commitment to help young people develop the skills they need to secure a paid job.
David May, Director of Operational Excellence and Programs at Sodexo, said, “We believe that as a business we must have a positive impact in everything we do. We have intent to support these young individuals get the opportunities that they deserve. We look forward to continuing to work with both Johnson & Johnson and Ways into Work to make this a success.”
Laura Davis, Managing Director at Ways into Work commented, “Ways into Work are so proud to be working in partnership with J&J, Sodexo and Manor Green School to establish a high quality Supported Internship model within Maidenhead. This partnership aims to not only have a positive impact on the lives of the young people accessing the program but also promote the many business benefits of a truly diverse workforce to the wider business community. It is wonderful to be a part of the employment journey of the two young men, watching their confidence growing overnight and developing the skills needed for the future careers they would like.”