A Corby woman with learning disabilities is one step closer to pursuing her dream job thanks to Teamwork Trust's latest project.
The charity’s Building Better Opportunities project is being funded by European Social Fund (ESF) and has been running since April.
The programme supports a person-centered approach to move 20 people with learning disabilities nearer to the job market by the end of October 2018.
25 year-old Natalie Greaves is among the first four adults on the programme, and her progress so far has given her even more hope of one day working in catering.
Teamwork’s strategic director John Bruce said: “This week, in celebration of national Learning Disability Week and in light of the fact that just six per cent of people with a learning disability are in paid work, is the perfect time to focus on the project’s success over the last three months.
“This unique project is very adaptable, and has allowed us to really work in a way that promotes our overall vision – to ensure that everyone gets access to the same chances, choices and opportunities, whatever their individual needs or abilities.
“For Natalie this has meant she has been given employment opportunities and experience that she might never have been able to access, in a sector she wants to work in.”
Teamwork Trust has been working with four people from Kettering, Wellingborough and Corby – more adults are due to start in the next few months.
As part of the project, they are provided with a working mentor who supports them both in and outside of the workplace.
The working mentors also assist local employers to offer and on-site presence and advise on training programmes or work-related issues.
John added: “With the UK seeing high levels of employment resulting in many job vacancies not being filled, those with learning disabilities, who actually want to access employment, still have many barriers in their way.
“We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to challenge this inequality and prove what we as a charity already know - that employment is the right of everyone.”
Natalie’s working mentor Samantha Farrow said: “Lydia’s of Gretton is a local coffee shop that has taken Natalie on a weekly work placement to help her get an understanding of how a cafe works from behind the counter.
“This is really important for someone like Natalie with learning disabilities, as it builds her confidence and improves her skills in a real-life work setting that she has an interest in.
"She is learning about customer service, money handling as well as catering, and has really developed during the time she has been on the programme.
"We are confident this will provide her with more chances to gain employment in the future.”
Teamwork Trust is a registered charity with centres in Corby, Wellingborough and Kettering.
The charity has delivered a wide range of social enterprise programmes for vulnerable adults who have short-term or enduring mental health issues, learning difficulties, physical disabilities.
For more information go to www.teamworktrust.co.uk.