AIREDALE NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating the success of internships for students with learning disabilities.

The trust has shone a spotlight on the scheme as part of Learning Disability Week.

Amongst the successful graduates of the Keighley College internship programme is 27-year-old Siddeqa Din.

She started on the scheme in 2019 and now has a permanent job at Airedale Hospital, with the therapy administration team.

Siddeqa, from Keighley, says: "When I started on the internship programme I was a bit nervous, but excited to learn new skills and get experience of what it’s like in a working environment. I love learning new skills and meeting people ­– and I love my Airedale family!"

The internships last for between six months and a year, and are flexible to suit the young person and employer.

Students spend part of the time in the workplace and have a job coach who carries out regular reviews of their progress.

Izzy Allsopp, therapies manager at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, says: "When they first come we ask our interns about their aspirations, long-term career goals and hobbies and then align their workplace experience around that.

"The scheme gives an invaluable opportunity for young people to learn workability skills and to develop, and we get a huge sense of pride watching them grow in ability and confidence."

Current interns include Sophie Jolly, who has an administration placement with the therapies team. She is due to graduate next month.

"I think it’s gone really well and that I’ve grown as a person," she said. "The best bit is being able to help others – and we have a nice time!"

Francis Day, a job coach at Keighley College, said: "Once they’ve been on the internship, our students are completely different. Their employability skills are up there, they communicate well and interact much more. To see them where they start, to where they are at the end, makes you very proud."

Emma Rich, support manager at the college, encourages more employers to consider offering internships.

She said: "Employers might think that it costs them money, but it’s a free service. The students work for two or three days a week and bring with them a job coach, which is also free. The bonus of this internship is that support is there, both for the young person and the employer."

For more details, contact Emma on 01535 685095 or