Five learners with disabilities helped into work with innovative scheme

Five Coventry residents with learning disabilities have successfully been recruited to paid employment in CV Life, following a new partnership training programme.

Luke, Jrah, Gordan, Jackie and Ibrahim were all offered jobs after taking part in Coventry Adult Education Service’s successful Sector Work Academy Programme (SWAP) with CV Life – a scheme for learners with learning disabilities, with shared work between Coventry City Council’s Employment and Skills Service, Adult Social Care, CV Life and the charity Grapevine.


Learners were referred through Coventry Job Shop’s Connect 2 programme, a European Social Fund (ESF) programme designed to support Job Shop customers with additional needs and barriers. Grapevine also referred one customer through their Help and Connect programme. The course was 6 weeks long with 2 days a week spent on work placement with CV Life and 2 days spent doing classroom learning in an onsite classroom provided by CV Life at The Wave.

Five learners with disabilities helped into work with innovative scheme

The five learners who have been recruited to paid employment in CV Life.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know these past 18 months have been an incredibly tough time for jobseekers, and that’s why work placements and other learning opportunities such as SWAPs are so vital to help people across the West Midlands into work.

“As part of my 100,000 jobs plan the WMCA has been helping to fund a series of these measures, and I am delighted to hear of the latest residents who have been able to use one of our schemes to secure a job.”

Jackie Cruise, one of the successful course participants said: "When I first started the course, I was extremely nervous and was really unsure if I was going to get a job at the end of the 6 weeks.


"After the help from the Job Coaches, CV life mentors and tutors, I felt much more comfortable and started to really enjoy myself. I have now been offered a paid opportunity and I am so happy. The experience has been brilliant, and I would recommend this to anyone!"


The learners have achieved a Level 1 Award in Health and Safety Awareness, as well as developing their customer service and communication skills and increasing their knowledge in safeguarding and equality and diversity.  All learners have been practicing their interview skills and updating their CVs. The learners have been supported in the classroom by their tutor and a learning support assistant from Coventry Adult Education Service.


The work placements which have been hosted across CV Life venues including; The Wave, The Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry Transport Museum and The Alan Higgs Centre. The roles have been in Front of House (first point of contact for visitors), Maintenance, Retail, Cleaning and Spa Attendant roles. CV Life Managers who have been trained to act as placement ‘Mentors’, have provided excellent support to learners to succeed in their placements . In addition, Job Coaches from the Coventry Job Shop and Grapevine provided initial support which was phased out as the learners became more confident in their roles.


The course has been highly successful, with the learners really demonstrating their ability in their placements - supported by their classroom learning, commitment from CV Life and the Job Coaching support. Rather than putting the learners through a formal application and interview process, CV Life took the decision to treat the work placements as ‘working interviews’ with informal interviews at the end of the placements. This has resulted in 5 of the 6 learners who started the course gaining paid work with CV Life.


Cllr Kindy Sandhu, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “The work placements for these young people have been a great success, and the support of job coaches and the various learning opportunities has been an important addition to the project. It has been an excellent example of partnership working for the benefit of young people.


“Each person has gained new skills, a qualification and great experience and I’m delighted that Luke, Jrah, Gordan, Jackie and Ibrahim have all secured paid jobs at CV Life.


“I know all 5 are really excited to be starting their roles and will continue to receive excellent support from CV Life with any extra support required being provided by the Coventry Job Shop and Grapevine.


“I’d like to thank all the organisations involved who have put the wellbeing of people with additional needs and with learning disabilities at the heart of what they do.”


Paul Breed, CV Life CEO said: “CV Life has been delighted to partner with Coventry City Council and other agencies to pilot the SWAP programme. Having the learners fully integrated within the business of the company has been hugely beneficial to both the learners and the teams from CV Life.


“It is absolutely fabulous that we have been able to offer five of the learners permanent employment opportunities and the incredible success of this pilot means that CV Life looks forward to offering future opportunities and programmes.”


SWAP courses are administered by the Department for Education (DWP) and funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) through the Adult Education Budget.


If you would like to find out more about future courses or get 1 to 1 Job Coaching support please get in touch with the Coventry Job Shop.