Man with cerebral palsy overjoyed at finding job at Holiday Inn

After struggling to find work because of his disability a young man from Churchdown is hoping his new placement will lead to a permanent job.

At a time when many are finding it hard to hold down secure employment, 22-year-old Ben Hodge has secured an eight-week placement at the Holiday Inn in Quedgeley.

He hopes that he can impress enough to be given a permanent contract with the business after he was accepted last year on a Marks & Spencer funded traineeship at National Star’s Star Bistro restaurant.

Before the traineeship, Ben was struggling to find work because he believes employers were put off by his cerebral palsy.

“I was applying for 10 jobs a day and while sometimes I was offered interviews, I never seemed to get any further,” said Ben, who has cerebral palsy.

“I felt my disability was holding me back and I just needed an employer to give me a chance.”

The year-long programme is focussed on experience in the work place rather than in the classroom and interns can work in catering, office administration, printing or retail.

Holiday Inn general manager Ronald George is delighted with Ben’s work as a guest assistant and hopes the placement will lead on to a permanent place.

“Throughout my career there have been people who have been willing to take a risk with me and to offer me opportunities to step up the ladder,” he said.

“Ben is a good worker and all the team enjoy working with him. He just gets on with it.”

National Star offers young people in Gloucestershire the opportunity to gain the skills and experience they need to help secure a job.

The college runs personalised internships for young adults with disabilities and learning difficulties.

Last year 88 per cent of its interns secured paid or voluntary work at a time when, nationally, only 6.6 per cent of adults with learning difficulties are in paid employment.

National Star principal Kathryn Rudd said the college was determined to address inequality in the workplace for people with disabilities.

“Our interns have disproved the stereotypes and have shown their employers exactly what they can do, rather than what other people think they can’t,” she said.

“Huge thanks to the team and the great employers we are privileged to work with.”

For more information on internships at National Star and funding contact Kirsten Kleenbauer on01242 534928 or email