The dealership has welcomed four students to join and contribute to the business over the course of a school year, allowing them to develop their practical, personal and business skills within a professional setting.
The programme is for students with special educational needs who are looking to transition out of education into employment. The programme aligns with Jardine Motors Group’s mission to create inclusive environments where diversity is celebrated and respected.
The students have each been assigned one of the following roles within the dealership: service administrator, showroom cleaner, showroom assistant, or parts assistant. This has encouraged the students to become fully immersed within the business and important members of the Audi Halesowen team. In their role, students have set responsibilities and tasks to complete with the support of an on-site job coach and their personal mentor from the Audi Halesowen team.
Not only has the internship developed the students’ understanding of how a car dealership operates, but it has also increased their confidence and communications skills. This practical work experience will greatly enhance their future opportunities and assist them in gaining independence through full time employment.
Dan Franklin, head of business at Audi Halesowen, initially felt compelled to take part in the college’s Supported Internship Programme due to his personal connection to the cause. Dan lives with ADHD and his two young children have recently been diagnosed with autism.
Dan said: “Since welcoming the interns, the whole team at Audi Halesowen has benefitted emotionally, showing huge amounts of understanding and empathy. It’s made our colleagues more aware of the challenges people with learning disabilities face and given them more compassion for customers and fellow colleagues.
“We’ve found it incredibly rewarding to see the students grow in confidence and develop their professional skill set. By taking part in the supported internship programme with Halesowen College we hope to inspire and encourage other businesses in the automotive industry to open their doors to people with learning disabilities; the students from Halesowen College have contributed, and continue to contribute, so much to our business.”
Claire Hawkes, supported employment co-ordinator at Halesowen College, said: “Our partnership with Audi Halesowen has been rewarding for everyone involved. We’ve seen our interns flourish in their roles, and they’ve gone from strength-to-strength thanks to not only the support provided by the onsite job coach, Sarah Southall, but by the whole Audi team. We’re extremely proud of what the interns have achieved and are very appreciative to Audi for this opportunity. We look forward to continuing our work with them in the future.”
Audi Halesowen plans to take on more interns from Halesowen College over the next academic year and encourages fellow dealerships to get involved with a similar programme within their local community.