Longstanding Blackpool hotel La Tour has welcomed Gordon – learning more about their “inspiring” traineeship programme for young people with autism and learning disabilities.

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The six month trainee scheme is for 18 to 24-year-olds and run by St. Camillus Training in conjunction with their training provider awarding body B-Skill and has participants working in the fully operational hotel. Gordon was introduced by Michael McMahon, the Training and Transition Coordinator for St. Camillus to former trainees Britney and Levi. After the traineeship finished, they went on to get a full time job with the hotel. On the scheme, they work on all parts of the hotel, including housekeeping, working in the restaurant, bar area and have other responsibilities.

Gordon said: “I have fond memories of the hotel from the early 2000s. For a number of Christmases the late Councillor Mary Smith booked our Labour councillors’ group dinner there. It has changed hands since then but I thought the partnership they now have with St. Camillus is a really inspiring one.

“As Labour’s Shadow Skills Minister I have always championed the opportunities that quality traineeships can bring. They can act as a springboard for people who may have previously struggled to find employment, often through no fault of their own. I know Michael very much shares the same view as me.

“Chatting to Britney and Levi, I could tell they really enjoy the job they do. They said their confidence and skills have come on so much as well. A lot of coach companies use the hotel for their trips to Blackpool, so it can often be a very busy environment for the trainees to work in. However Levi said this had been good for him because it had helped him identify what his strengths and weaknesses were.”

Both Levi and Britney became aware of the scheme through Job Centre Plus, who Michael said St. Camillus had a good working relationship with. He said: “What we offer is unique to the area and provides real results for young people living with learning disabilities. It was a pleasure to see some of our students speaking so confidently and openly to Gordon and this only reflects the amazing work we do and progress our students make.

“We are lucky enough to be able to change young people’s lives and the way they see themselves fitting into society. I personally love my job and consider myself lucky to be able to offer such valuable support to these people. This is made easier by working within a great team and receiving plenty of support from any superiors.”

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