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Top businesses tackle employment inequality with unique internships for students with disabilities

Posted: 25th September 2018

Top businesses are joining forces with leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire, to offer students and graduates with disabilities paid work placements in summer 2019.

Applications open today for Change 100 – Leonard Cheshire’s award-winning internship scheme that gives students and graduates the opportunity to do three months of paid work experience with some of the UK’s leading organisations across a range of industries and sectors. Previous Change 100 employers have included the BBC, Standard Life, North Lanarkshire Council, Lloyds Banking Group and Taylor Wimpey.

These highly-coveted internships help remove barriers experienced by people with disabilities in the workplace, to allow them to achieve their full potential. Successful applicants receive mentoring and guidance throughout their paid placement, enabling them to develop and thrive within the workplace.

Victoria, a 2018 Change 100 intern, who carried out a work experience placement at the Department for International Development in East Kilbride, said:

“I have loved my experience with DfID and Change 100. I feel very well supported by my employer – when I first started, they invested a lot of time into finding out my preferred ways of working/how I worked best, what I was interested in, where I was interested in progressing and they took these into account when considering my tasks going forward.”

Change 100 also supports businesses by giving advice and guidance on how to support employees with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Tom Fraser, Service Programmes Development Manager at BMW UK, said:

“Over the past three months we’ve been delighted to welcome five talented, enthusiastic and dynamic interns into our organisation. Each intern has brought with them a wide variety of skills and helped us to change perceptions within the business. With the help of Change 100 and our interns, we’ve already discovered that our processes and systems can be improved to ensure we’re adapting to our employees’ needs.”

Change 100 was a finalist for the 2018 National Undergraduate Employability Awards, in the category of Best Disability Initiative in Work Experience, as well as the proud winner of the 2015 and 2016 RIDI awards.

Victoria Passant, Programme Manager for Leonard Cheshire, said:

“Entering the world of work is a challenging time in any young person’s life, but we know people with disabilities face additional challenges when finding employment. Scotland’s disability employment gap remains stubbornly high at 35.8%, and we know from our research that employer attitudes are a big factor in this.

“Change100 aims to break down the barriers faced by people with disabilities in the workplace and give talented students the opportunity to kick-start their careers. The programme has grown year on year, since its launch in 2014, and we’re thrilled to have 90 employers on board across the UK.”

Applications are open until 16 January 2019. Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for the highly-coveted placements.

To find out more about the programme and apply, please visit:

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