Sajeel Mohammed, 20, who was born with a severe hearing impairment, is one of many SLDD learners (Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities) at Nottingham College benefitting from the Supported Internship Programme, which helps young people who want to move into employment but need extra support to do so.
Determined Sajeel has grown-up facing the obstacles and challenges his disability has presented him with, but he’s never let it stand in his way. His Cochlear hearing implant and his ability to lip read, mean that Sajeel can communicate just like you and me. Passing his driving test recently has given him more independence and now he’s really keen to find a full-time job.
Sajeel has always had an interest in hair styling and make-up design, so when the opportunity arose to join the Supported Internship scheme working at Your Look salon in the city centre, he jumped at the chance! He has been working as a receptionist at the College’s commercial training salon in Wheeler Gate since October last year and has become a valued member of the team.
His tasks vary from: signing clients in and out using the computer system and taking payments; to working in the dispensary organising stock; and ensuring the salon is clean and tidy for the customers.
Sajeel said: “I love working in the salon. The staff made me feel welcome straight away and it’s nice to be part of a team. It’s given me so much more confidence and independence and my parents and family are really proud of me.”
Salon Dispensary Technician / Receptionist and Sajeel’s mentor, Tara McRoberts, said: “Sajeel is such a hard worker with a great work ethic - he’s a real asset to our team. He’s fantastic with the clients and it’s obvious that he gets a lot of satisfaction from the role because it shines through when he interacts with our customers.
“To any business considering a supported intern, I would say to go for it and give them a chance. From our experience we couldn’t have asked for more.”
Charmaine Crew is Sajeel’s Job Coach. She found him the job at the salon and supports him whilst on placement. Sajeel also receives support from the Deaf/Hearing Impairment team, who assist Sajeel on a one-one basis in the classroom. She said: “There are so many young people like Sajeel, who have the right attitude, skills and willingness to learn, but far too often they are overlooked simply because of their disability. We need more businesses like the salon to see past a person’s disability or learning difficulty and who are willing to support them onto the career ladder.”
Charmaine adds: “Sajeel is an extremely capable young man who I’ve seen grow in confidence, gain valuable life skills as well as employability skills, and really excel since first starting at the College. His maths and English is improving and he’s working towards achieving his Level 1 Functional Skills which I’m hopeful he will achieve. This will give him a real confidence boost as well as the basic qualifications that many employers are looking for."
Nottingham College is working with a number of local businesses to support its SLDD learners. These include Hobby Craft; FM Solutions for Interserve at Boots UK Support Office; and Futures Advice, but Charmaine says we need more: “We’re always on the lookout for more willing employers. Not only is it valuable for our students, but also for businesses who could really benefit from taking on a young person like Sajeel.”