What We Offer
We help young people with learning disabilities make the transition from school and further education into employment, by providing training and work experience in an integrated environment. Our approach is very practical: we train young people for local jobs that are likely to be in demand and that are suitable for their capabilities; we develop employability skills and we build the confidence and social skills they need for work and adult life. Training is for up to three years, starting with a period of full-time work within Engine Shed, then moving on to a mixture of work placement with mainstream employers and training within Engine Shed, and eventually moving into paid employment within a variety of workplaces.
Our Target Group
The term "learning disabilities" can cover a very wide spectrum of abilities. Many young people defined as having learning disabilities attend mainstream schools and, with some additional support, are able to make a successful transition to work and independent living. However, those with more severe learning disabilities attend special schools and it is this group that is the main target for our training services. These are young people who have the potential to move into employment, and become more independent, but need longer to acquire the skills, aptitudes and confidence to do so.
Although the majority of our trainees come to us from school or college we take people of any age who are experiencing a period of transition. Not everyone is ready to think about employment at 16 or 18 and we always have trainees who are in their late 20's or early 30's when they join the Engine Shed.
The Training Package
We provide a comprehensive training and support package that has been developed over many years. This includes work placements and work experience; the opportunity to gain certified vocational qualifications; a personal development course; vocational guidance; an aftercare support package, including advising on benefits when moving into work and opportunities for personal and social development.
We also offer support in the form of a small training allowance; bus passes; subsidised meals; protective clothing; counselling, guidance and advice in areas such as job coaching, completing application forms etc and literacy and numeracy support.
A Successful Training Centre
At any one time we have around 30 trainees on a three year training programme. Young people can join and leave at any point in the year, so we normally have about 10 completing their training every year and 10 starting.
All our trainees gain qualifications, such as the National Certificate in Food Hygiene and SVQs in Counter Service, Food Preparation and Craft Baking. The number and type of qualifications depends very much on the ability of each trainee.
Over and above this formal training, our trainees learn social skills and forge friendships that will serve them for years to come. We organise regular social activities and encourage trainees to meet by themselves outside the Engine Shed. For many, this is their first opportunity to make a social life independent of parents or carers, and is an important step on the road to maturity.
One of our former trainees sits on the board of directors of the Engine Shed and is a first class ambassador for the organisation.