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Project Overview

Ground Control teamed up with Sandwell Schools S.E.N Supported Internship and Apprenticeship Programme, offering training and employment opportunities to students with special needs. This is a story about Wayne Gorman, a student from the programme, who now runs his own site, as an accomplished grounds maintenance operative.

The Challenge

In 2019 figures showed that only 5.6% of young people with a learning disability gained paid employment.  The impact being, young people miss out on fulfilling their potential through employment, and industry miss out on getting the right mix of people for essential job roles.

The Solution

The Sandwell Schools S.E.N Supported Internship and Apprenticeship Programme.

At Ground Control, the programme is led by Grounds Maintenance site supervisor and area manager Roy Candlin, with support from specialist mentors and job coaches Laura Adamson and Tom Carr.

Ground Control is an equal opportunities employer. We work our with clients to supply dedicated staff and pioneer Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives at every opportunity. We are committed to recognising talent, and investing in training  and development to nurture it.  Wayne Gorman's success story from intern, to site operator, is a shining example of how both the employee and business can reap the benefits of investing in people and training, underpinned by CSR.

The Process

Wayne Gorman began his journey at the Westminster School in the West Midlands. Ground Control was first introduced to the school back in 2015, working with the pupils on a tree planting project. The project ignited enthusiasm, motivation and maturity in the students. This began to ‘sow-the-seed’ for a development pathway in grounds maintenance work through the Sandwell Schools Supported Internship and Apprentice Programme.

Roy Candlin immediately saw the potential to develop the programme to to offer valuable opportunities throughout the grounds maintenance division at Ground Control.

The pathway began with taster days and career days with presentations and workshops. This led to pre-internships, which led to internships and onto the apprenticeship programme that Ground Control proudly owns today.

Wayne Gorman embraced this pathway and joined Ground Control in 2017, working with Roy Candlin and job coach Laura Adamson. Wayne started out supporting Roy for three days a week at the Towley Regis Sandwell Schools grounds.  During his time on site, Wayne worked mainly with Roy and then later took on more responsibility to assist the field teams on site with further grounds maintenance duties.

A year later, Wayne could confidently carry out skilled maintenance work on his own, including line marking on football pitches, grass cutting, hedge cutting and cleaning curbs.

He became competent in operating a range of specialist machinery (battery-powered where possible) including the billy goat vacuum, diggers, mowers, tractors, and jet washers.

The Result

Wayne now works on JLL Parkway in Birmingham looking after the entire site from grass to shrubs, from leaves to weeds and litter.

Having his potential recognised, Wayne passed, with flying colours, all his NPTC machinery qualifications which will give him official accreditation.

Roy Candlin, Ground Control site supervisor and area manager commented:

It’s great to see how far Wayne has come. He is doing so well and showed enormous potential incredibly early on into the course.
We are all so proud of what Wayne has accomplished in such a brief time, and I am looking forward to seeing him develop his career at Ground Control.

Laura Adamson, Wayne’s tutor and job coach, commented:

Wayne has been a pleasure to teach and it was a pleasure to watch him develop into the person he now is. They come to me as students, behaving like students, and come out as adults, with the confidence and independence, to be the best they can be and make a valuable contribution to society.

Tom Carr,  Wayne’s tutor and job coach, commented:

Through the hard work of Roy, his team, the teachers at Westminster School, and of course the students, the internship has been a great success.
Only a small percentage of students with learning difficulties manage to hold down employment after their education and it is projects and people like this, that help to turn this around. Well, done to all involved.

This project is continuing to evolve, and Ground Control now has a whole S.E.N field team dedicated to JLL.