Volunteering Matters, the UK’s largest volunteering charity, launched a new wave of work placements throughout the UK last week, designed to inspire young people with physical and learning disabilities into work and tackle employer’s misconceptions about hiring disabled employees.

The Inspiring Disabled Young People scheme, created by Volunteering Matters and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) aims to showcase the skills of young people with disabilities who are facing barriers when it comes to pursuing employment.

Six teenagers from Manchester had the opportunity to shadow staff at the Co-op store in Angel Square on Tuesday 9th June. James Woodhouse (aged 16), Luca Cativo (aged 16) Tybah Nadeem (aged 15) Khalil Ibrahim (aged 15) Stephanie Hayes (aged 15) and William Trimble (aged 15) all have varying learning disabilities including autism and ADHD and share a passion for learning more about the retail industry, spending the day shadowing Rob Devlan, Community Resourcing Manager, and other colleagues specialising in leadership development and talent acquisition, at the Co-operative Group Head Office in Angel Square, Manchester.

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned by millions of UK consumers, with 3,500 outlets all over the UK.

Rob Devlin, Community Resourcing Manager at the Co-operative Group Head Office in Manchester said:

“We are delighted that Volunteering Matters approached us about a work shadowing placement. We were really pleased to offer these young people this rare opportunity to shadow us for the day at our Co-op head office.  All six of them paid close attention to the work that goes on here and we hope that their interest was sparked by giving them an insight into the work we do, which could even lead them to considering career in the retail industry in the future.”

Young people aged between 16 and 25-years-old disabled young people with disabilities will take part in work shadowing days across the UK over the month of June. They include teenagers with hearing impairments, autism and other physical and learning difficulties, who have been unable to find paid employment. They will shadow employees across retail, local government, heritage sites and public sector to gain valuable work experience.

Other work shadowing placements on the programme include Vodafone stores in Fulham, Sheffield, Maidstone and Sittingbourne, and KPMG offices in London and Birmingham,

Oonagh Aitken, CSV Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to work with DWP once again to roll out these important opportunities. Many disabled people face barriers when it comes to work, particularly during the transition from leaving school into their first job, with some unable to find work and employers worry about accommodating any extra needs they may have or any additional costs they might incur.

“We know its of upmost importance for disabled people to be able to use the skills they have in a work environment, and by offering these placements once again, we hope inspire young people into considering a future career, help them gain real work experience and show that many employers like those taking part in this initiative, do value and employ disabled people.”



For press enquiries please contact Amanda Francis at Volunteering Matters, amanda.francis@volunteeringmatters.org.uk / 020 3780 5880 / 07754698854

Notes to Editors

Volunteering Matters is the UK’s leading volunteering charity running volunteering and social action programmes. Volunteers make a difference by supporting families in difficulty, young people leaving care, disabled and vulnerable adults and older and retired people. For more information please visit www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are funding the initiative with the aim of helping individuals access and/or reintegrate into the labour market.

Through The Disability Confident campaign, the government is working with employers to remove barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations. Employers are crucial to improving employment outcomes for disabled people. Access to Work grants are available to pay for practical support.