A NEW project is hoping to break down barriers that can prevent young people with Down Syndrome entering the workplace.

Bingley-based Down Syndrome Training and Support Service is running the 'I Can Work' scheme in partnership with local businesses.

Rebecca Spalding, 24, from Idle, is one of the young people taking part in the initiative through a six-month placement at the Mortgage Advice Bureau in Bingley where she "loves" working.

She said it has helped to build her confidence, make new friends, and be independent.

"I look forward to going, I can't wait," she said. "It feels nice to be confident.

"It's just nice meeting people - I would love to work there full time."

Rebecca travels to Bingley by train and bus and experiences various aspects of working in an office environment in her role.

Her mum Anne said the placement has been a boost to Rebecca's confidence, but highlighted the challenges that people with Down Syndrome can sometimes face when applying for jobs.

"The sad thing is, people still see barriers. People see that label and that's kind of the end of it," she said.

Her dad Alan added: "Rebecca has applied for I don't know how many jobs, but sadly as soon as someone sees Down Syndrome, the companies are not prepared to give kids like Rebecca a chance."

He said it stops them from seeing what they are capable of, but praised the Mortgage Advice Bureau as being "brilliant" with Rebecca.

On top of her time there, Rebecca also works in a front of house role at the Alhambra Theatre.

The charity is hoping to set even more placements up in the coming months.

It is now appealing for volunteers to form part of the team which supports the young people through their placements.

It's ideally looking for experienced, semi-retired professionals, who are confident to support both the young person on placement and staff in the workplace to ensure it is a success.

Down Syndrome Training and Support Service, based in Bingley, was set up 18 years ago by four families who had children with Down Syndrome.

It has expanded over the years and now supports more than 360 families and 230 organisations, delivering training sessions, early intervention, speech and language support and social activities. If you would like to volunteer as part of the scheme, contact the charity on 01274 561308.