From college to the John Radcliffe – read Rhodri’s story

Leaving education and entering the world of employment is a daunting experience for many of us. But for 20-year-old Rhodri Jones, the support of Oxfordshire Employment made the transition into adulthood a much less stressful experience.

Rhodri, aged 20, from Headington first came to Oxfordshire Employment through the Supported Internship program via Abingdon & Witney College. He had been working as a volunteer at the John Radcliffe hospital delivering leaflets to the appropriate wards before getting his job as a hospital porter.

Rhodri, who has dyslexia and is on the autism spectrum, had previously attended the fast forward program through Abingdon & Witney College and is a keen cyclist in his spare time.

Oxfordshire Employment – part of the County Council – is an established organisation with an excellent track record in helping people with health or disability issues to get and keep paid employment. It has been on hand to support many young people get into employment as they reach adulthood, including Rhodri.

The Supported Internship program was set up to support students with a disability in their last year of college.

Students can attend college one day per week and then Oxfordshire Employment find suitable work placements for 15 hours per week and support these students in their work placement. Enabling them to move into paid employment upon finishing college.

“I’ve always loved the idea of working in a hospital, having previously volunteered at John Radcliffe. I was so happy when Linda was able to get more another placement at Warneford Hospital, Oxford, working as a hospital porter, delivering supplies around the hospital and assisting the team there.

“What’s more, I got to cycle into work every day, which I love to do.”

“When my placement was coming to an end, I knew that I wanted more. I really enjoyed working in a hospital and really wanted to get a job in one.”

With the support of Oxfordshire Employment, Rhodri was able to secure employment as a cleaner at John Radcliffe Hospital through Champion Employment.

“Since I started my job back in March, I feel so much more confident, and love the independence. My boss has even started to offer me overtime, and I am hoping to take on more hours” said Rhodri.

Linda Walker, employment advisor in the Oxfordshire Employment team at Oxfordshire County Council, works closely with Rhodri.

She said: “whilst getting to know Rhodri and his family during the summer of 2019, it became clear that he was an ambitious young man and knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to work.

“Rhodri was able to go through their recruitment process with support from ourselves to ensure that he was a suitable candidate and be considered for a position. He made a great impression on the team at Champion & the John Radcliffe hospital and he was offered a post cleaning in the west wing for 20 hours per week.”

“He needed some additional support to settle into his role, but this was no issue for Champion who helped us arrange support internally, where we were unable to do so because of Covid-19.

“It is wonderful to see Rhodri flourishing in his new job. He is a great example of the type of work we do at Oxfordshire Employment. This wouldn’t have been possible without the work between Oxfordshire Employment, Rhodri and his employers, Champion, and it is great to see that Rhodri has managed to achieve his goal of paid employment. I am so pleased for him.”

“We’ve built-up long-term relationships with many local employers, who employ people that we have introduced and supported, and I hope we can continue to support many more.”

“Supporting Rhodri through his journey to employment has been our pleasure. The preparation work and management of expectations by Oxfordshire Employment has been key to this opportunity working. Rhodri is a fully integrated part of the Champion team, ensuring the job we have to do, gets done”, said Dani Legard, Manager at Champion’s Oxford branch.

Want to work?

Oxfordshire Employment is funded to offer support to anyone who has barriers in gaining employment. Anybody in Oxfordshire who is interested in learning more should speak to Oxfordshire Employment about being referred to our service and being put in touch with the most appropriate service the service offers. You can learn more about them here

As well as helping people directly into Employment with a range of employers, Oxfordshire Employment also operates County Print Finishers and offers paid work placements to help develop work skills and experience to prepare you for external employment.