Blog by Jake: Disabilities and finding work experience Last week MYT welcomed a new work experience placement, Jake, who is currently studying at MidKent College. Jake was with us over 3 days and worked with a variety of departments. Jake has Cerebral Palsy and found searching for a work experience placement to be a bit of a challenge until MYT took him on. Here’s what Jake had to say: My name is Jake and I have spent this week (7th March) on work experience at Medway Youth Trust. I am 17 years old and I go to MidKent College where I am studying Level 1 Business and IT. At college, I am part of Rivermead, so I do my partnership days when I’m free. Rivermead is a community special school and is part of the Rivermead Inclusive Trust. I have a condition called Cerebral Palsy. It affects my mobility and I can’t walk far, or walk upstairs too much. I love playing football, and hanging out with friends, just like any other teenager. I feel confident and excited to come to work experience at Medway Youth Trust, I’ve been learning how people keep control of finances, how computers are made and I also learnt about the Health & Safety Act, it’s been an exciting experience. I even learnt how to write this blog! I believe it was a challenge to find work experience as some places couldn’t take me on due to my disabilities and they were concerned about my wellbeing. I have found that having additional needs or disabilities can limit your options to find a job or work placement. It was difficult, I couldn’t find many placements! I don’t think this is fair, particularly for disabled people who need to work to provide for their families and to live comfortably. In the future I’m hoping to stay at college do Level 2 Business and to try progress onto a level 3. Jody Sharp, Assistant Head of Programmes said: ‘Jake worked with a wide variety of staff across a range of teams at Medway Youth Trust in Chatham. He got a good insight into the work we do with young people – supporting with delivery of one of our programmes as well as helping out with general admin duties. He spent some time with our business unit working with our accountant and looking at things from a finance perspective as well as with our communications officer and how MYT uses branding and marketing to communicate with stakeholders. As a business and IT student, Jake spent a morning working with our IT consultant Absols too - so he got quite a well-rounded experience over his short time with us! He certainly made the most of it! Jake came in with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. He was enthusiastic about the work and was a real pleasure to have in the organisation. He would be welcomed back at any time!’ Medway Youth Trust appreciates that employers can often panic and think they don’t have the time or resources to employ or take on a young person with a disability. However, with a little bit of assessment, understanding and research, young people like Jake may help change their minds.