Positivity, passion and pride were all in abundance this week at Little Gate Farm’s 2nd annual Employer Awards Ceremony! Held in the beautiful De la Warr Pavilion, trainees, families, staff and employers gathered to celebrate the diversity that our learning disabled adults provide to local businesses in and around East Sussex.
We were astounded to find out just last week, that national employment rates for adults with learning disabilities have dropped down once again to a shocking 5.9% but through the dedication of our partner employers we are making a real difference, with East Sussex figures standing at 7%. The staff and trainees themselves at Little Gate work tirelessly every week to build and improve employability skills, but none of this would be possible without the local employers who welcome neurodiversity into their workforce with open arms. It only seemed right to thank these employers with a night equally as special as all thirty two of them!
After fully launching our Young People’s Programme just over a year ago, we have had a blinding success with supported internships, traineeships and apprenticeships. One partner employer who has been pivotal to this success are the De la Warr, who have recently employed two apprentices in business admin and front of house roles. They have gone above and beyond for our trainees, and are definitely worthy recipients of the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Award’. Over half of our awards of the night went to our apprenticeship employers, including: ‘Most Innovative’ going to Sandown School who have taken on a traineeship, ‘Most Dedicated’ going to Southlands Place Care Home who have successfully supported one young man through an apprenticeship as well as employing another trainee within the last month; and Hastings Borough Council who now support two trainees, earning themselves the ‘Nurturing and Supportive Team Award’. It was also a huge pleasure to have Rose Petals Beauty/Cinque Ports Escape, voted ‘Best Small Business’.
Another incredible employer who cannot go unmentioned are the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Since starting our rolling work experience programme in a plethora of departments including catering, housekeeping, health records and more; we have had over 18 trainees in placements- resulting in three permanent paid jobs. This is a partnership we are hugely proud of, and it came as no surprise that they received many nominations, winning them the ‘People’s Choice Award’! Other notable employers who won awards on Monday included: Focus SB who won ‘Most Dynamic Employer’, Hydro Hotel, Kench Hill Centre, Jaytec Glass, Artemis Nursery, Hailsham Roadways and Glyne Gap School. All of these award winners were presented by Hastings mayor Nigel Sinden with beautiful handcrafted wooden trophy, made carefully and meticulously by the Little Gate Farm woodland team.
Five years ago, Little Gate set out its mission to empower adults with learning disabilities and autism to live enriching lives in paid employment. Five years later, we are breaking down barriers with over thirty employers embracing the benefits that neurodiversity brings to their business. If you are an employer and want to find out more about our supported employment programme, please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01424423505.