Youngsters with learning disabilities get ‘activ’ in the quest for employment

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A CITY wide initiative has been launched to help young adults with learning disabilities develop the skills to gain employment.

Interactiv, part of the charity Enable Ability, provides workshops, training mentors and voluntary placements for young people. It was established by the charity’s deputy manager, Mary Ive.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, officially opens the new Landport Interactiv Centre.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, officially opens the new Landport Interactiv Centre.

Mary said: ‘The whole reason is to enable young people with disabilities to gain meaningful employment. I have two children myself who are autistic and I’m fully aware of the barriers this can bring. Due to the severity of their condition they have access to support. This scheme is aimed at young people who may have Asperger’s or be on the autistic spectrum but have milder conditions and have slipped under the radar or not had access to support.’

Projects are are run from the newly renovated Landport Interactiv Centre where young people have the opportunity to work in the canteen and supervise children in the gaming room.

Shane Lancaster, 23, from North End, has been working at the centre since it opened.

Shane said: ‘I work in the gaming room and help children with any problems they may be having with the different computer games. I’ve really enjoyed coming here and it has helped my confidence and communication skills. I’m hoping if I do well enough it could lead to a full-time job.’

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A key part of the initiative is the electronics workshop in which youngsters work with experts to learn how to repair computers and other electronic devices.

Mary said: ‘The ideal scenario would be that people develop the skills to set up their own enterprise.’

A recent development has seen the charity partner up with the Weald and Downland Living Museum near Chichester in which young people have taken part in volunteer opportunities such as learning and showcasing traditional trades, guiding members of the public round the museum and working on the entrance desk.

Museum representative, Heather Sullivan, said: ‘This is a fantastic project which we’re delighted to be involved with. We’ve been welcoming volunteers since September and it has really helped develop their personal skills.’

Joining Heather at the Interactiv launch was the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Fuller, who had the honour of opening the new Landport Interactiv Centre.

Cllr Fuller said: ‘This is a fantastic initiative which will hopefully give people the skills they need to get employment.’