Hotelier and celebrities urge more local companies to Say Yes to SEN

Rosie Wallace, the MD of the Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth is urging other businesses to join her in helping people with special educational needs into work.

Last month (October 13, 2017) the Marsham Court hosted leaders from over 100 local businesses for Say Yes to SEN, a special event to highlight the many benefits of employing people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and to promote the Supported Internship scheme.

The event, which was organised by local training provider South West Regional Assessment Centre (SWRAC) in association with Bournemouth & Poole Councils, was also attended by the TV actor Jules Robertson and his mother, the award winning writer Kathy Lette, who shared their own experiences of Jules’ battle with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Comedian and writer Rosie Jones (Eight Out Of Ten Cats and Mock the Week), who has cerebral palsy, also spoke about her personal experiences.

The Marsham Court – current holder of the Business Engagement with Education award 2016 – has worked with SWRAC’s hospitality arm since it started in 2012 and has provided over 40 work placements for local unemployed people, some of whom have gone on to secure permanent jobs at the hotel.

Since January 2016 the hotel has also provided a base for CHI Training – Classroom in the Heart of Industry – enabling young people with learning differences to undertake on-the-job training, whilst working towards recognised qualifications to enhance their future employability prospects.

Rosie Wallace said: “I can say hand on heart that my business has benefitted hugely from working with people with SEN and I believe this could be the case for many other businesses in the area.”

She continued: “It’s an unfortunate fact that people with disabilities are confronted with challenges and seemingly unsurmountable obstacles on a daily basis.

“However this adversity often equips them with the ability to find solutions which require flexibility, creativity and an open mind. And this creative way of thinking and of handling situations can be hugely beneficial to your business.

“A prime example of this can be seen in our young apprentice Aaron Corbin, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at just nine years old.

“Aaron has not only been singled out by an AA inspector for his politeness, he is now training other staff and recently won the Dorset Intermediate Apprentice of the Year Award 2017.

“I would urge businesses to look into the wide range of support available to them when they provide a supported internship.

“I’m confident their first intern will be the first of many.”

Adrian Gunner of the South West Regional Assessment Centre, agreed: “We constantly meet many people who are extremely enthusiastic, willing and able, reliable and trustworthy who have great personalities and who have the skills to undertake many roles.

“They have the potential to make wonderful employees but often they need help gaining experience first.”

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