FINDING your desk, meeting your team, making sure you don’t use somebody else’s mug - starting a new job is a nerve-wracking experience for anyone.

But it is a challenge for young people with special needs to even get a foot in the door, with only around seven per cent of people with a learning disability ever entering the world of work.

A new programme is helping youngsters achieve their ambitions by offering them work skills through internships at charities, cafes, offices and workshops across the town.

And employers are delighted to welcome new members to the team.

Daniel Healiss, 20, who has autism, has been helping the careers service at the council’s Families and Wellbeing service and his boss is thrilled that he brought his ‘brilliant’ photography skills to the role.

Daniel said: “Working with the team is great and I have discovered I am good at it. I was a bit nervous the first time I had to give a presentation, it was daunting to have a room full of people looking at you. Now my confidence has really gone up.”

In the future he hopes to work with animals and through his 12-month placement he has learned to research, work on a computer, manage emails and become part of the team.

Sue Ellis from the council said: “It has been great, we’ve enjoyed watching his confidence grow. Daniel never lets you down and he’s really committed.”

Eighteen-year-old James Noble has brought banter to the workplace during his internship on the council’s press team and at the Warrington Guardian. He’s learned to write, edit and research news stories.

James said: “I wasn’t nervous, I just wanted to take it all in. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It’s been an awesome experience.”

Laurence Pullan, from the press office, added: “He’s done really well to integrate with the team and know what makes them tick. It’s not easy to start work for any 18-year-old. The value that James brings to the team is huge. We have loved it.”

And for 24-year-old film fan Ciaran Bradley, working at the cafe in New Town House is giving him the skills he needs for his dream job - working at the cinema due to be built as part of the Bridge Street development.

He said: “I have learned so much. On the first day I was really nervous but it has helped my confidence grow. I feel like part of the team.”

Cafe manager Neil Woodward added: “Other employers should absolutely be doing this too, it has helped me learn new skills. The adjustments are well worth it, it’s so rewarding.”

The scheme, for people aged 16 to 25, also includes a college course in employment skills, English and maths.

Programme leader Pete Connor said: “The young people are all very dedicated and a credit to themselves. Our goal is to get them into employment.”