More youngsters with learning difficulties will soon be making their way into the world of work, thanks to a £33,333 grant awarded to Brothers of Charity.
The group, which runs three cafe, bakery and garden enterprises in Tweedbank, has been given the Young Start Fund cash to expand its work for those with learning disabilities and autism.
Since 2014 the charity has been offering youngsters six months’ training accredited through Borders College, and 18 months’ supported work experience at it’s Working Together social enterprises, in a bid to improve their transferable skills and independence.
Currently trainees are given a six-week taster session at either the gardening and woodwork service Green Works, artisan bakery Bread Works or the Whistle Stop Cafe, opened in 2017, before moving on to a more specific training programme.
However, this money will allow the charity to introduce an additional Ready for Enterprise programme, which will benefit 50 more participants, including 20 new trainees.
Employment and enterprise manager Mandy Lowrie said: “Through working with individuals over the last five years we have found that not everyone who applies for the training programme has an understanding of the expectations within the workplace, and although the taster session we offer works well for some, others require a more gradual structured introduction to employment.
“Ready for Enterprise will enable a more gradually understand routines, basic skill requirements and expectations before commencing training, thus making successful progression into and through the full programme more likely.”
“We will also develop a management committee that will ensure our trainees are fully involved in the day-to -day running and future development of the enterprises.”
Once trained through any of the enterprises, staff are encouraged to stay within the enterprises as volunteers for a period of up to 18 months to further develop skills and confidence before being referred to local job-seeking services.
Mandy added: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application to the Young Start Fund which, along with financial support from other funding bodies and the funds generated by the enterprises themselves will allow us to continue and develop the project going forward.”