Little Gate Farm has already clocked up five years’ experience in improving the lives of learning disabled, autistic, and vulnerable children and adults in East Sussex, supporting over 40 people with autism and learning disabilities into paid work over that time.

But a National lottery grant in April this year has enabled Little Gate Farm to set up its new Supported Apprentice Scheme. The target is to create apprenticeships for 50 young people over the next five years by working with local employers, continuing its work to improve job prospects for young adults who may feel limited in career choices. 

“This scheme means we can find real jobs for our young people aged 16-25 with local employers,” explained Little Gate Farm CEO and founder, Claire Cordell. “We are really excited about the opportunities this will bring to local businesses and the enrichment it will bring to the apprentices involved.”

Hastings Borough Council is one of the first large businesses in Hastings to back the scheme and will be supporting an apprentice post and a trainee post in 2019. 

Cllr Peter Chowney, leader at Hastings Borough Council said
that the Supported Apprenticeship Scheme “Fits perfectly with Hastings Borough Council’s ethos of supporting the local area and giving our young people real opportunities to experience the world of work”. 

Both the employer and apprentice will be fully supported by a job coach and training provider throughout the apprenticeship and traineeship.

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, who has been working with Little Gate Farm since 2015, said: “They are an inspirational local organisation which is fully committed to providing work skills and fulfilling career opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism. 

“I am fully supportive of this inclusive scheme and I would encourage local employers to get involved in the scheme to discover how these enthusiastic and hard-working apprentices can be a real asset to their organisation.”

Little Gate Farm had a stand at the recent Hastings Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair held by Amber Rudd at East Sussex College Hastings Campus.

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