PROUD parents, carers and trainers gathered at Gunwharf Quays Academy to celebrate a graduation ceremony.
Five trainees of Ready, Steady Work, an employability skills programme, received their qualifications at the event — hosted by MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan.
The pilot programme is aimed at groups who are vulnerable or may have learning difficulties and want to obtain work.
The campaign has been organised by The Learning and Training Academy and Lily and Lime LD, two specialist training providers.
A report by Valuing Employment Now revealed that, in 2011, only 6.6 per cent of people with learning disabilities were reported to be in some form of paid employment.
The trainees, Gary Mills, 31, James Oldham, 29, Chris Harvey, 36, Kevin Skilton, 50, and Amanda Partridge, 28, all took part in the four week programme.
The programme involves things like maths and English skills building and CV assistance. The last stage of the course gives trainees the option to join a volunteer programme, take up a work placement, complete some work experience or join the organiser’s supported intern programme.
Trainee Gary said: ‘I started out as a trainee. Now I’m a senior trainee and have an Employability Qualification.
‘Because of this I have paid work, which has changed my life.’
Chris Hillman, a trainer at Ready Steady Work, said: ‘To achieve 100 per cent pass rate with our first five is a testament to the work that the team put in.
‘The five have made a statement that anything is possible, and I’m very honoured to have been a part of it.’
The training was held in Gunwharf Quays Academy.
Jay Wood, guest relations manager at Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘It was a delight to be part of the event and it is lovely that some have achieved employment as a result.’
Stephen Morgan said he fully supports the scheme in breaking down work barriers.
He added: ‘It is wonderful to celebrate the achievements of the Ready, Steady Work trainees. This was a pilot that hopefully will lead to bigger things.
‘I fully support what Ready, Steady Work is doing in removing barriers to work.What they do is exactly what I want to see in building a fairer city which works for everyone.
‘I look forward to seeing more success stories from this unique programme in the future.’