William, 24, works at the learning disability charity Mencap and has a learning disability. Last year, he completed a traineeship and apprenticeship as part of Mencap’s 3 Ships employment programmes, which comprise supported internships, traineeships and apprenticeships to support people with a learning disability to develop the skills and confidence needed to get a job. The programme helped William build his confidence and secure his first job.
William said: “I have a learning disability and I left school with the best GCSEs result that I could and felt proud of what I achieved. I passed my BTEC in Performing Arts by playing King Lear’s good daughter Cordelia and really enjoyed it. I went on to college where I studied level 2 media, level 2 travel/tourism and life skills. I went on to do a nine-month long internship at my local council.
But it was taking part in Mencap’s traineeship and then apprenticeship employment programmes which really turned my career around. It helped me learn how to write emails, develop my admin skills and improve my employability skills, like writing a CV and doing interviews, to get me ready for work.
Most importantly, the travel support helped me build up my confidence to travel independently, which means I can now get to work all by myself. After finishing the programme, I got my first job as Apprentice Office Assistant at Mencap. Now I know that it doesn’t matter what grades you get at school, with the right support and training opportunities, like Mencap’s 3 Ships programmes, people with a learning disability can get into work. I want the government to make training opportunities like apprenticeships more accessible for people, like me, who have a learning disability. People with a learning disability make great employees, we just need to make sure there is the support in place they need to get them into work.”