A student from Luton is set to join Arriva this summer as part of Central Bedfordshire College’s Supported Internship scheme.
Richard Whitfield-Guy, 21, initially joined the team at Arriva in September last year as part of the College’s workplace initiative. The scheme seeks to enable young people aged 16-24 with a statement of SEN, a Learning Difficulty Assessment or an Education, Health and Care Plan to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning on the job.
Richard, who was diagnosed with low functioning autism at the age of four and a half, was placed with Arriva Luton for two days a week for six months as a trainee cleaner. He learned every aspect of carrying out a full PSV clean under the supervision of the local depot team.
The team offered him a permanent role from July 1.
General Manager Linsey Frostick said: “We understand that Richard has always displayed a need to live as independently as possible, which was the catalyst for his enrolment on the course.
“During his time with us he has been dedicated and conscientious, and we’ve seen him really develop a strong sense of self, becoming more confident and thriving alongside his colleagues, with whom he’s built a great bond.
“We initially became involved in the Supported Internship scheme because we are passionate about people, and delivering employment opportunities within the local community.
“We hoped we could make a real difference to individuals who may have been otherwise overlooked because of their unique needs, and we honestly couldn’t be more delighted by how Richard has flourished since joining us, which is why we simply couldn’t let him go!
“He is now capable of undertaking a comprehensive clean alone on each clean supervised by one of our day cleaners, having learnt all the health and safety elements of dealing with chemicals and working in the engineering environment.
“He’s an absolute credit to the team at Central Bedfordshire College and moreover, his family, who we know are bursting with pride at him achieving his dreams.
“We are very much looking forward to him permanently becoming a fully-fledged member of the Arriva Luton family.”
Alongside their time with the employer, trainees complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant substantial qualifications, including English and Maths, if appropriate.
The College is proud of the range of work that it undertakes with its Employer Partners.
Sarah Mortimer, Vice Principal of Strategic Partnerships and Professional Services, said: “We are very pleased to see that the outcome for Richard is the one he set himself from the start and is richly deserved.
“Our thanks also go to Arriva, as they remain committed to this programme and to supporting students who wish to understand and experience the workplace as part of their education.”