A hard-working Derwen College student has gained valuable experience in the hospitality industry, thanks to a partnership with The Wrekin Housing Group.

Supported intern, Maisy Cadwallader, who has learning difficulties, has made a huge impact at Ashwood extra care scheme, in Oswestry. She has been honing her hospitality and customer service skills at Shire Living’s Ashwood on a weekly work placement, for nearly a year, and is delighted to have progressed to a job there.

Maisy is a 21-year-old supported intern at specialist further education college Derwen, on the Hospitality and Food pathway. She is keen to pursue a future career in Hospitality, and is also looking forward to further independence as she is moving into a new flat with friends after College.

Maisy has been working in the café and kitchen at Ashwood every Wednesday for nearly a year as an intern through a partnership with Wrekin Housing.  She is one of two Derwen College students who enjoy vital work placements thanks to Wrekin Housing. She is accompanied by Derwen job coach Amy Wilkinson, who has been able to gradually withdraw support, and now only visits for regular check-ins.

Maisy helps staff to serve food and drinks to residents who visit the café, she also works in the kitchen peeling and prepping vegetables, washes up, mops and cleans.

Residents say that Maisy is a well-liked member of staff who has grown in skills and confidence during her time at Ashwood. She has made such a strong impact that she will continue her role via volunteer work experience during the summer holidays.

Gill Price, Social Value Co-ordinator at The Wrekin Housing Group said: “Maisy has been doing very well and I have had good feedback from the team she works with to say so and how much they enjoy having her here.

“Wrekin has been offering work experience and placements to young people for some time, as we believe it’s our responsibility as a part of the community. This year, is the first time we’ve offered supported internships to students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and the feedback from colleagues and customers has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Work Experience and Supported Internships Coordinator Abi Baker thanked Wrekin for enabling supported interns to gain valuable work experience at Shire Living.

“Our Supported Interns experience the world of work at regular placements in the community. They attend with Derwen job coaches such as Amy. As students gain independence we withdraw that support, with a long-term view of allowing them to work independently. The ultimate aim is always for businesses to take on our young people as employees. The team at Derwen are all delighted that Maisy has been given this opportunity. We are so grateful to her colleagues at Ashwood who have supported and encouraged her.”

Maisy, whose family are from Bridgnorth, will be moving into shared accommodation with friends near Oswestry. She has been learning travel training to help her to travel to work on her own from her new home.

Maisy says: “At Ashwood, I’ve learnt knife skills and peeling vegetables.  I clean the surfaces and kitchen, mop the floor, brush the floor. I take food and drink to the tables. My favourite thing is serving the food to customers. I can work independently now, and love it.”

As part of her internship, Maisy works at Derwen College’s The Orangery Restaurant, in the Walled Garden Café, and in Tip Top Takeout. She also has external work placements at Cambrian Coffee and Cakes, Oswestry, and Hummingbird Café in Telford.

Derwen College is very proud to see how Maisy’s hard work and commitment have seen her progress to become a graduate with a bright future ahead of her.

Find out more about vocational learning at Derwen College at www.derwen.ac.uk