Watches2U has told of a success story from its recently launched supported internship scheme that aims to help young adults with learning difficulties find employment in South London.
Carshalton College student, James Murfin, joined Watches2U on the scheme in November 2018 on a 6-month internship – and has now secured permanent paid employment with the business.
The Croydon-based business partnered with Carshalton College to facilitate the scheme, which aims to help young people with a range of learning difficulties, such as autism, Asperger’s, cerebral palsy or medical mental health issues get valuable work experience to improve their employability.
The scheme is specifically aimed at young people aged 16-25 who have an Education Health and Care plan, and who may ordinarily find it difficult to find work.
It sees interns split their time between college-based learning and a work placement to gain credible experience.
Murfin said: “As well as gaining the practical skills needed, being part of a supported internship allows young people to experience a live working environment.
“Out of the courses I’ve done in the past, I’ve actually found learning as I work and contributing to a team a lot more engaging and motivating.
“I think there are a lot of people like me who would enjoy actively working while naturally gaining skills, over a more restricted classroom setting.”
“I really wanted to get into an internship placement as soon as possible. But due to a lack of appropriate placements offered by businesses, it was almost 3-months wait for a one, which I found frustrating.”
James now has paid employment with Watches2U, working as a marketing assistant, and currently contracted to work for three days a week rising to five as he becomes more comfortable in the office environment.
He added: “Everyone here has been helpful, supportive and understanding of my needs. Despite coming into Watches2U through untraditional means, I feel very integrated into the business and part of the team.
“I am also learning skills like website design, digital marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and HTML/CSS coding, which are important skills to have in any job role these days.”
Faisal Bhatti, Watches2U’a COO, commented: “Supporting local colleges is essential for the development of students. We try to do this as much as we can.
“This programme helps teach life skills and prepare students for working life. It allows students who may struggle with interview processes to show what they can do. We took on three students last year and employed one.
“James would not have been able to explain his skill sets in an interview environment and we would have missed out on a great member of the team.”
Thanks to the success of James’ placement, Watches2U is continuing the scheme for the next year and hopes to recruit several new interns through the programme.