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Town MP backs efforts to help for students with learning difficulties
AN MP has given her backing to help find employment opportunities for North-East students with learning difficulties.
Darlington MP Jenny Chapman has pledged to support an initiative by Darlington College to encourage local employers and public sector agencies to look at the benefits of offering work experience to young learners who often miss out on workplace opportunities due to their disabilities.
Principal of Darlington College Tim Grant said: "Darlington College provides a range and breadth of provision, not only for students who are on track to go to university but also for many young people who have come from challenging backgrounds.
"Some of our students come to us with a low level of education and qualifications but whether they have learning difficulties or are high flyers we open our doors to everybody.
"The one problem that we do have, one that is replicated in colleges all across the country, is providing practical hands on work experience for students who have learning disorders even though these young people can prove to be some of the most loyal and reliable employees.
"Therefore we are delighted that Jenny has given her backing to helping us ensure that each one of our students are given the opportunity to use their individual talents to make a positive contribution within the workplace."
Learning support staff at the college are hoping that public sector agencies in the town such as The NHS, Darlington Borough Council, the police, fire service, schools and colleges as well as private employers will get on board to offer supervised learning placements for the students.
Chairman of Darlington College, chairman of Darlington Partnership and managing director of Sherwoods Motor Group, Alasdair MacConachie, said: "I know how many requests my own business receives each week for work placements and it is sometimes very difficult to meet the need.
"But as employers we have a social responsibility and I am more than happy to offer my assistance for these young learners to get a foot in the door with employers across the region."
The college currently has several students requiring employment opportunities including: Charlie Sergeant, 17, of Leyburn, who is hoping for a career in catering, Josh Watson, 22, of Hurworth, who is currently volunteering at Thornbeck College in Durham, Jess Bennett, 18, of Darlington, who would like to work in hospitality and Susie Smith, 23, of Catterick Garrison, who has a passion for gardening and working outdoors.
MP Jenny Chapman said: "There is no simple solution to finding work opportunities for many students nowadays.
"I am more than happy to give my backing to the initiative and I am sure that if the college, local employers, the public sector and The Darlington Partnership get their heads together we can find a way of ensuring that as many young people are given that chance."
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