FOUR young people with learning disabilities started their first jobs this week thanks to an Oxford cafe.
Darren Doncaster, Hannah Harrison, Anthony Langdon and Ian Rigsby have all been taken on as apprentices at the Yellow Submarine cafe.
The cafe was helped by a grant from the Oxford Mail’s parent company Gannett.
Working 20 hours a week for 78 weeks at the Park End Street centre, the four apprentices will have full employment rights and be paid a weekly salary.
Yellow Submarine believes this will make it the largest, and possibly the only, employer of apprentices with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire.
Chief executive Toby Staveley said apprenticeships were the best stepping stone to long-term employment.
He said: “An 18-month apprenticeship will be totally transformative for these individuals.”
One barrier for people with learning disabilities is that apprenticeships usually require all participants to have reached Level 1 in Maths and English.
Yellow Submarine charity, which organises residential holidays and short breaks, day trips and classes for young people and adults with learning disabilities, opened its cafe last March.
It was helped by a £10,000 grant from the Mail’s parent company’s chairtable wing the Gannett Foundation, and has also received funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust, and the St Michael’s & All Saints’ Charities.
Ian Rigsby, 25, who has learning difficulties, said he had a great time at his first day of work at the cafe on Monday.
He said: “It feels really good.
“I did a bit of paperwork but I’m looking forward to making food as well. I like the staff here because they are funny and make me laugh.”
Managers are working with Abingdon and Witney College to provide the four apprenticeships.
Mr Staveley added: “We are delighted to have taken this exciting step and have full confidence that people with learning disabilities can perform the roles required of them within an apprenticeship.”
HOW TO APPLY FOR A GANNETT GRANT
Applications must be submitted on the approved application form, which can be downloaded at oxfordmail.co.uk/gannettfoundation. The completed form and supporting document can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to Gannett Foundation Applications, Newspaper House, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EJ. The deadline is 5pm on Friday, September 12.
The trustees will not fund:
- Salaries, professional fees or day-to-day running or maintenance costs
- General appeals as opposed to specific projects
- Projects that do not bring benefits to local communities
- Political or religious organisations
- State or privately-run schools (other than special needs) or hospitals (other than hospices).
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
UPDATE: Man left with serious head injuries after being hit with wooden item during fight in Bicester
3:17pm Saturday 31st January 2015
THREE men have been arrested after a man was left with "serious injuries," police say.
10:29am Sunday 1st February 2015
TRAINS from Oxford to the north of England will be disrupted until at least Tuesday after a landslip on Saturday night.
7:43am Saturday 31st January 2015
IT'S been snowing overnight in Oxfordshire and here's some of the pictures our readers have sent in.
9:00am Saturday 31st January 2015
THE POPPY Appeal’s fundraising target has been smashed in the county.
1:20pm Saturday 31st January 2015
A British military healthcare worker has been brought back to England for Ebola monitoring after suffering a needle-stick injury while treating a person in Sierra Leone.
9:30am Saturday 31st January 2015
Danny Hylton has warned Oxford United will get “eaten alive” at Stevenage today unless they match their hosts’ appetite for a battle.