STUDENTS in Reading are celebrating their achievements after graduating from a course that prepares them for the workplace.

Thirteen students from Reading College’s learning disability department took part in the course Ace@Optalis, a scheme run by Wokingham-based social care provider Optalis through its Supported Employment Service.

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The aim of the course is to prepare and support students through their transition from Reading College learning disability department into the work environment.

Students involved in the course took part in group sessions, specialist 1-1 job coaching, travel training, work experience and paid work over the last year.

Donna Morgans, Optalis Supported Employment Service Manager, said: “Supported Employment Service continues to provide a first-class service and each and every one on the team works tirelessly to enable each student to reach their employment goals and aspirations.

“I am extremely proud of our Class of 2019 and the dedication of my team."

Of the 13 students that attended the course, 90% are now in paid employment.

They praised the course for giving them a source of confidence and self-esteem that has helped them to identify and secure their first paid jobs.

They commented: “I have become more independent travelling and have more knowledge on what to expect in a paid job’ and ‘Ace@Optalis has helped me to build my confidence and get my first paid job.”

The graduation event, which took place at Reading College, was attended by students, their family members and employers, as well as The Worshipful the Mayor of Wokingham Borough Councillor Bill Soane.