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Special school internship helps former students find their dream jobs

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Fri 08 Sep 2017

Special school internship helps former students find their dream jobs

AFTER leaving Green Lane Special School, student Phil Walker was not sure what he wanted to do with his life.

He never expected to be walking back through the doors of his former school as a bit of a celebrity. But thanks to a supported internship the 23-year-old from Howley discovered how much he enjoyed working with children.

After completing an internship with Virgin Trains the sports fan was given the opportunity to work with Warrington Wolves outreach project where he gave up his weekends and evenings to teach sports sessions at special schools and youth clubs.

He said: “When I left school I never thought I would end up working with Wolves. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I got experience in different jobs.

“I knew my mentor and most of the staff on the course because I played for a disabled football team.

“I really enjoyed going back into schools, especially going back to my old school, Green Lane. Now I’m going to study at Riverside College to do a teaching assistant course. I discovered that working with kids is what I want to do for my career. I have really enjoyed the internship programme, I would definitely recommend it to other people. There are so many opportunities.”

Craig Thomason from Wolves added: “When you see the look on the kids faces when they find out Phil went to the same school as them, it’s like he’s a celebrity. He’s become a role model to them, someone that they can look up to.

“I’m really proud of him.”

Barista Rory Hutton is also preparing for job interviews. The 22-year-old from Latchford, who has autism, has completed qualifications in customer service during his internship and worked at Rhode Island coffee shop.

He said: “The internship has been brilliant, I really enjoyed it. Most importantly I learned to be a barista which is the dream job.

“It has helped me become a lot more confident.”

Now Rory has been learning to cook, using the till and enjoys working with customers, especially the regulars.

Pete Connor from the internship programme said: "Rory has overcome a few challenges since he started and I'm very proud of the way he's developed. He's ready for work so the next step is applying for jobs.

"He always presents himself well, listens to his manager and works well as part of the team.

"It's great to see him get to where he is today.”

Companies interested in learning more about the scheme can email Pete Connor at greenlane_internship@warrington.gov.uk.