Cardiff and Vale College joins with The Parkgate Hotel to launch Supported Internships

6 Mar 2024

Cardiff and Vale College has joined forces with Cardiff’s finest luxury hotel, The Parkgate, part of The Celtic Collection, to launch Supported Internships for young people with additional learning needs.

The internships offer accessible but inclusive opportunities for young people with additional learning needs. The Parkgate’s staff have embraced the programme and played a central part in training and creating new opportunities in areas such as front of house, food and beverage, kitchen portering, housekeeping and facilities.

The Parkgate Hotel Supported Internships programme will begin in September 2024. It will take the number of CAVC Supported Interns in the Capital Region above the 30 mark.

The Parkgate Hotel General Manager Damien Martin said: “The Parkgate Hotel could not be prouder of the work that has been done to get us here, launching our own Supported Internships program. The need for greater diversity within our teams is of paramount importance, so that we can attract the best talent, create the best teams, offer the best service and continue to grow as a venue, and as a hospitality industry.

“It is a dream, for me personally, to have a platform from which to make even the smallest of differences to the students’ future.”

Cardiff and Vale College Assistant Principal Yusuf Ibrahim said: “The launch of the Supported Internship pathway at The Parkgate Hotel represents a significant moment in inclusive education. It enables learners with additional needs to develop skills in a 'real' employment setting which will add value to their lives as well as to The Parkgate Hotel.

“This partnership is an example of how education and businesses can work together to meet the needs of our diverse communities and enhance our products and services. Cardiff and Vale College are proud to be leading the way in providing opportunities for learners from all walks of life who can go on to add value to businesses and communities.”

Eight years ago, CAVC embarked on a pilot ‘Engage to Change’ partnership programme with Cardiff University, Learning Disability Wales and Elite Employment Support Agency delivering the DFN Project Search programme. A supported employment programme to explore and create employment opportunities that are accessible but inclusive for young people with additional learning needs to gain essential employability skills.

The programme, now in its eighth year, was the foundation for shaping Supported Internships in Cardiff and the Vale and Wales as a whole.

In 2019, the success of the pilot programme saw the creation of another supported internship at Dow Silicones UK Ltd. in Barry. The first private sector Supported Internship in Wales continues to provide incredible ‘real life’ employment opportunities for learners and it has also resulted in significant cultural changes across the organisation.

Since the inception of the supported internship programmes over 100 young people with additional learning needs have successfully completed the programme with almost 60% securing employment, against a national average of 4.8%.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Sharon James-Evans said: “We’re delighted to launch the latest Supported Internships programme with The Parkgate Hotel. We are fortunate to have three incredible, forward thinking, innovative organisations as host business partners, providing invaluable experiences that bridge the gap between the classroom and industry.

“This latest partnership with The Parkgate Hotel and The Celtic Collection addresses the recruitment needs in the catering and hospitality sector while providing real and not just realistic opportunities to the interns. Together, we are nurturing an untapped employment pool, ready to seize exciting opportunities through Supported Internships.”

More information about Supported Internships at CAVC can be found here.