'Inclusive Space' offers internships, new positions for mentally challenged
A local charity project, initiated by Shanghai Daily and City News Service, that provides vocational training and internship for mentally impaired students is now offering new positions.
Seven students from the Putuo District Ganlin Junior Vocational and Technical School were interviewed by staff from Marriott International and three of its local hotels on Thursday.
The "Inclusive Space" project was launched in August last year to provide vocational training to students with autism, Down syndrome and other mental or intelligent disabilities to help enhance their social integration and smoothen their transition into the workforce. A batch of coffee shops and hotels has offered training and internships to the mentally disabled.
Four students from the Huangpu District Special Education Vocational School started their four-month internship at Marriott International hotels and have made great progress in their positions.
"One boy who works in the kitchen is able to follow his mentor to arrange food and plates in the buffet section, where there are customers. We are very glad for their improvement," said Tang Lu, Marriott International's senior human resources manager for China .
"We are happy to come to the Ganlin school today to interview more students. We have nearly 1,200 disabled employees at some of our 300 Marriott hotels."
Wang Jiawen was one of the seven students who was interviewed on Thursday. She expressed strong interest in working in a hotel.
"I have learned cooking, table serving and preparing desserts and dim sum at school. I want to try my skills in a real workplace. I am not afraid," said the 18-year-old intelligently challenged student.
Vocational school officials said such internships offer a good chance to enhance students' social involvement and help schools and teachers better know the demand of employers.
"To help such children's employment, we have launched various courses to improve their vocational skills. While school courses are far removed from the real workplace, we teachers can know the real condition of the workplace and refresh our teaching content through such programs," said Zhang Jin, principle of the Putuo District Ganlin Junior Vocational and Technical School.