Learners with difficulties and disabilities have celebrated their progress and success at a special awards night.

The red carpet was rolled out for Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College learners who have been on the college’s SKIL and Bridge courses where they have developed important life and employability skills through utilising a purpose built flat to develop self-help and independence.

Enterprise skills the students develop on those courses have been put to good use on a number of occasions, including the running of the Egg Company operating at both Lancashire Adult Learning’s Northlight base in Brierfield and at Nelson and Colne College, and the Soup Company at Northlight.

Other students attending on the night have completed Supported Internships through Nelson and Colne College or Accrington and Rossendale College – year-long courses primarily involved with developing employability skills through work, where students spend one day at College and two or three days in the workplace.

Initially students are supported by a ‘Job Coach’ from Lancashire County Council with the support reducing as the student progresses through the course. Work places have included the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, local charities such as Pendleside Hospice and the British Heart Foundation, and Burnley FC in the Community.

Lewis Baker-Vose, 22, who has enjoyed a Supported Internship with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “When l started at College, l had in my mind that l was working towards getting a job, and my mum really encouraged me to pursue the Supported Internship route.

“Lancashire County Council worked with Nelson and Colne College to secure me a supported internship at ELHT, working on the main reception where l direct patients and visitors to the relevant areas and operate the emergency door system.

“I have a fantastic rapport with the staff; the main reception is a great place to work as it is wheelchair friendly with accessible facilities close by.

“This internship has given me so many opportunities to meet new people and learn new skills. I don’t want my disability to stop me from thriving in the community and being an active member of society. This placement has changed my life.”

Fionnuala Swann, Assistant Principal at Nelson and Colne College, said: “It was a lovely occasion and a fitting way to mark the success and progress of our students.

“The celebration was also a chance to look back on what they have all achieved here at Nelson and Colne College and at Accrington and Rossendale College – developing confidence and life skills that will stand them in good stead in the future.

“We are confident that our learners have developed the skills needed to live more independently, undertake voluntary work or gain employment to support the local economy, and we wish them all the very best in their futures.”