Pop star Natasha Hamilton surprised a lucky Liverpool resident last month, presenting him with a certificate for completing a Barnardo's-run initiative giving young people in Merseyside a chance to work.

Jason Ryan, aged 20, is one of the first people to take part in two new Barnardo’s courses, as part of its ‘A Chance to Work’ service. Open to 16-25 year olds with moderate learning disabilities, the fast-track courses give them the skills, confidence and work experience they need to increase their employability, and lead to nationally-recognised qualifications.

Natasha Hamilton dropped in to see Jason as he completed his work placement, at Beechley Riding Stables in Allerton, and was thrilled to present him with the certificate. Natasha said:

“I hope that my visit will highlight the fantastic opportunities that young people with moderate learning disabilities in Merseyside have through this Barnardo’s scheme. It was an inspiration to meet Jason and see him with the horses, I just know he’ll go onto do great things!”

Students going through the 16-week ASDAN-accredited courses get lots of support with job-hunting and have the interview process demystified. They also have the opportunity to work in a range of work environments such as restaurants, farms and offices.

Jason said, “Doing the courses and work experience has meant a lot to me. I’ve gained lots of skills that I can use in future jobs and my confidence has really grown.”

Pat Greene, Assistant Director of Children’s Service for Barnardo’s in Merseyside, said: “This provides the confidence to employers that these young people have the required skills and are ready to work. It also gives the young people invaluable work experience and job-hunting skills.”

For more information, visit the Barnardo’s website.

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