Audi Halesowen welcomed in four students on a programme for young people with special educational needs to help them develop their personal and business skills within a workplace setting over the course of a school year.
The West Midlands dealership, part of Jardine Motors Group, assigned the students to one of four roles within the dealership: service administrator, showroom cleaner, showroom assistant, or parts assistant.
It has encouraged the students to become fully immersed within the business and important members of the Audi Halesowen team. In their role, students have set responsibilities and tasks to complete with the support of an on-site job coach and their personal mentor from the Audi Halesowen team.
Further Education News reported this month that Audi Halesowen head of business Dan Franklin became interested in supporting Halesowen College's Supported Internship Programme due to his personal interest in supporting people with particular needs, as he lives with ADHD and his two young children have been diagnosed with autism.
He said the whole team at Audi Halesowen has benefitted emotionally from having the young people within the business, showing huge amounts of understanding and empathy.
"It’s made our colleagues more aware of the challenges people with learning disabilities face and given them more compassion for customers and fellow colleagues," he said.
Not only has the internship developed the students’ understanding of how a car dealership operates, but it has also increased their confidence and communications skills. This practical work experience will greatly enhance their future opportunities and assist them in gaining independence through full time employment, the college said.
Franklin added: “We’ve found it incredibly rewarding to see the students grow in confidence and develop their professional skill set.
"By taking part in the supported internship programme with Halesowen College we hope to inspire and encourage other businesses in the automotive industry to open their doors to people with learning disabilities; the students from Halesowen College have contributed, and continue to contribute, so much to our business.”
Jardine Motors Group has a mission to create inclusive environments where diversity is celebrated and respected.
It has long been a member of the Automotive 30% Club, whose mission is to support and promote the career development of women within the UK's automotive industry so that more can reach management positions.