Golden Lane Housing's (GLH) first apprentice, Nicholas is gaining experience in a paid job while studying towards Level 2 Customer Service Apprenticeship.
Previously many of the apprenticeship programmes excluded people with a learning disability. Research by the Paul Maynard Taskforce in 2016 revealed that one of the barriers of accessing work through apprenticeship programmes had been limited due to the qualifications required to take part, and led to a change in the rules.
Since 2017, Mencap has offered job opportunities within the organisation through an apprenticeship programme.
’œI'd previously done voluntary work which had given me some experience but I wasn't sure what type of job I wanted,’ says Nicholas.
’œMy Mum saw an advert in the paper for an apprenticeship coordinator and enquired about the possibilities of apprentice roles. After finding out about the position advertised at GLH she spoke to me about Mencap's Apprenticeship programme.
I was hesitant at first, but then decided to apply, and got an interview.
I'd never been for an interview before and was feeling somewhere between being nervous and anxious. The day arrived and I was fully prepared. The interview went well and I was pleased to find out I got the job.
My apprenticeship at GLH started in February this year. It was quite daunting to begin with as I'd never worked in an office before but everyone is really friendly and helpful.
Mencap also support me, and we have regular meetings to talk about what I'm doing and how it's going.
About every eight weeks, I work within a different team within GLH to gain experience of doing different things. So far, I've worked with customer services, repairs, finance and housing income team.
I've also visited properties with an assistant surveyor and an operative from the in-house team to find out more about their job and meet some of the tenants. It was nice to see people living in their own home.
I really like the variety of work but have realised I enjoy working on the computer the most.
This year, GLH had an event to celebrate their 20th birthday. My adult social worker came with me. The event really showed the difference GLH are making to the lives of people with a learning disability, and it's something to be proud of. It was good to see and talk to the people I work with too.
My apprenticeship at GLH finishes in May 2019. I'm going to see what happens, but I'd like to carry on working. Being in a paid job has taught me how to budget for things; I didn't know how to do that before.’
Mencap's Apprenticeship programme
For more information and advice about Mencap's Apprenticeship programme, please get in touch with Mencap's Learning Disability Helpline.