Student Benjamin Richardson has been named Supported Intern of the Year at the Buckinghamshire Adult Learning Awards after impressing with his ‘dedication and professionalism’.

Gifted Benjamin,19, has just completed a Supported Internship programme with Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, which aims to link school leavers who have additional needs with local employment chances and prepare them for their future career.

For the past year, Benjamin has worked as a supported intern for Sodexo at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury as an administrator.

Benjamin, who is from Buckinghamshire and has autism, is one of eight supported interns to have joined the Sodexo team at Stoke Mandeville over the past three years as part of its commitment to provide social value to the local communities it serves.

Now – after being nominated by Christie Lavery, the Supported Employment Manager at Stony Dean School,- he has won the award.
Writing her nomination, Christie said: of Benjamin:

He is the ultimate professional at work, always polite with outstanding personal appearance.  His organisational skills are those that many of us would only aspire to.  New skills were quickly learnt and developed resulting in  Benjamin becoming an efficient minute taker at the Sodexo Managers Meetings as well as re-designing the filing system in the office and being fully immersed with the administration team. Benjamin never ceases to impress me. His work ethic and dedication to the course has been inspirational. Benjamin is an inspiration to young people with additional needs. During his year he has become a SEND Ambassador, a voluntary role to ensure that local government services and provision meet the needs of local young people with SEND. With the right champions, Benjamin has proved that young adults with an additional need can be successful in the learning environment and workplace.

Benjamin finished his supported internship with Sodexo in June and received his award at a special event a few weeks ago. He will commence a ‘Principles of Business Admin’ adult learning course with a further work placement with Sodexo at Stoke Mandeville Hospital with the aim of securing employment in 2023. 
Martin O’Rourke, Divisional Director at Sodexo Healthcare, said:

A big congratulations to Benjamin who is clearly a very gifted and dedicated young man. I am really pleased that our Sodexo team at Stoke Mandeville are able to play a part in helping him prepare for his future career.

More information about the Buckinghamshire Adult Learning Awards can be found here
More information on Stony Dean school and the work it does with Supported Interns can be found here
Supported Internships - Buckinghamshire Adult Learning (
Sodexo has Accredited Leader status in the UK Government's Disability Confident scheme, Its Healthcare division partners with local colleges in the communities it serves to offer work placements for people with varying disabilities and provides supported placements at several hospital contracts in its portfolio. 
There are currently 22 supported interns across seven sites and more than 200 young people have been supported in the past 10 years.
Sodexo provides the full suite of facilities management services to Stoke Mandeville Hospital including portering, cleaning, maintenance, helpdesk and patient food service.

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