Association of London Colleges

Students with learning disabilities visit construction site in Ponders End

Students with learning disabilities found out more about working in construction when they visited a building site in Ponders End.

The group from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) was invited by construction firm Lovell to see the new development at the Electric Quarter.

Last month the Government announced plans to get one million more disabled people in work over the next 10 years.

Senior Site Manager Cliff Cowley gave the Supported Learning students a tour of the site, which will comprise 167 new homes alongside retail and commercial units.

Lovell currently employs apprenticeships on its site and is keen to work with CONEL to offer training opportunities as part of its commitment to draw up to 30% of workers from the local area.

"We want to be a part of the local community and inspire the next generation to get involved and take up careers in construction, and if we can support in any training or apprenticeships we will," said Sophia Bruce, Regional Training Adviser for Lovell.

"Inclusivity is something we value as a company, and wherever possible we will accommodate people disabilities into Lovell.

"One of our apprentices who is deaf and working on a sites in Woolwich. He is getting on well, and his co-workers are now learning to sign."

Government figures show that while 600,000 disabled people have found work in the past four years, only half are in work compared to 80% of non-disabled people.

Thea Charles, Supported Learning Job Coach at CONEL, said: "Our Supported Learning students study some construction skills and this visit was a great way for them to get exposure to this industry, which may inspire them to consider this as a potential career.

"We've also started to build a relationship with Lovell that could lead to apprenticeships and placements for Supported Learning and other learners at the College."

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