Cheltenham MP hails National Star Student Craig as ‘Great Role Model’

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has hailed the success of National Star student Craig White as proof that individuals with disabilities make a tremendous impact when given the chance of employment.

Craig White was so impressive on his recent work placement that he has now been offered a job.  The 21-year-old is now a permanent member of the cleaning team at Balcarras School in Cheltenham.

Alex Chalk said: “I’ve been encouraging local businesses to give our disabled community the opportunity to work. Craig’s success story at Balcarras makes him a great role model for that campaign.”

Rob Dundas, joint head of cleaning at Balcarras says "Craig has fitted in with the team and takes real pride in his work and has grabbed every opportunity with both hands. He always tries his best. I can’t think of a task that he won’t have a go at.”

Craig is now responsible for cleaning up the school canteen. “He’s taken ownership of it and simply gets on with it, using his own initiative,” said Mr Dundas.

Craig says getting the job has changed his attitude and helped him grow in confidence.

“I’m not holding back now. I used to be shy but now I like the job because I get to meet new people.”

When Craig joined the Skills for Work programme at National Star he had one clear objective – to get a job.

Now he is working five days a week and loves it. Craig says having a personal job mentor made all the difference.

Alex Chalk added: “I hosted Cheltenham’s first ever Disability Confident Fair last month to boost the recruitment of people with disabilities in our town. Employment levels are at an all-time high, but we need to do more to support our disabled community who want to get into the workplace. Craig’s experience at Balcarras is another wonderful example of what can be achieved.”

“There is considerable funding available for employers. The Access to Work scheme can offer over £10,000 to employers to cover the cost of workplace adaptations and other support.”

“The Government has also allocated £115 million through the Work and Health Unit specifically to support people with disabilities to get in, stay in and return to work.”