Originally founded as a sheltered workshop to provide meaningful employment and training for adults with disabilities, Nuneaton Signs has manufactured road and commercial signs since 1982. Since 2021, the business has offered supported internships for young people with special educational needs and disabilities in partnership with North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC).
Getting involved with the NWSLC supported internship programme has enabled us to offer a steppingstone between education and employment.
We offered internships to four learners in the first year and have since taken on another five interns. Interns spend each term working in a different department, enabling them to develop skills across a broad range of functions including fabrication, printing, packaging and despatch. They also attend classroom sessions on CV writing and job searching, assessing their progress with their job coach via daily journals. Every intern that completes the programme is facilitated to access a job interview, either with us or with a supplier or client, giving them a chance to secure paid employment.
The supported internship programme has brought a breath of fresh air to us at Nuneaton Signs, enabling us to augment our workforce with young people starting out on their employment journeys. Some long-serving employees, themselves with disabilities, have been trained as mentors to support the next generation, building pride and self-esteem at the same time.
A Nuneaton Signs Intern said: “Working here has given me a different perspective on life and a new attitude towards learning. I never felt able to socialise with others before: my anxiety felt like the sky was crumbling and the walls were closing in. However, after a few weeks of working here, I was out there creating friendships with new people from my workplace.”