University of Northampton lend a hand to green fingered group with learning difficulties

A group of adults is spending a day a week on campus for six weeks, shadowing the ground staff team and offering a helping hand.

A group of adults is spending a day a week on campus for six weeks, shadowing the ground staff team and offering a helping hand.

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Ground staff at the university of Northampton are passing on their expertise to adults with learning disabilities to help boost their job prospects.

The staff, who maintain the university’s outside spaces has teamed up with Olympus Care Services, an organisation, which supports adults with learning and physical difficulties in Northamptonshire.

The project will see a group of adults spending a day a week on campus for six weeks, shadowing the ground staff team and helping out with floral displays, working in the greenhouses and sprucing up the forest school – an outdoor classroom at Park Campus.

University grounds supervisor, John Howes, said: “We were only too happy to work with Olympus Care Services and offer its users the chance to learn from our team.

“We hope the skills they pick up will go some way to helping them to secure paid employment further down the line.

“It’s a brilliant example of social inclusion which not only benefits the group we’ve welcomed onto campus but also gives my team the experience of working with people who they might not otherwise come into contact with. It’s put a smile on everyone’s faces.”

The initiative was brokered by the university’s Changemaker Hub, which provides students with local and global opportunities, training and a dedicated employability service.

Tom is one of the adults spending time on the placement and feels the experience will benefit him immensely.

He said: “I’m really enjoying it. I’ve not been able to find a job, and so this sort of thing will hopefully help me to find one.”

Olympus Care team leader, Caroline Bannard, said: “Initiatives like this are so important for our customers, as they give them the skills and experience of working in the real world.”