Special event celebrates employment internships of young people with disabilities
A special celebratory event was held this week (Wednesday 20 March 2019) at Shrewsbury Town FC’s stadium to mark the achievements of young people with disabilities completing their supported internships.
The event, organised by Shropshire Council’s SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) team and Enable Employment Services, was attended by over 170 people.
Attendees included young people who have completed, or are currently on, a supported internship, Shropshire employers who have offered placements and employment to the young people, social care practitioners, IASS workers, Shrewsbury Colleges Group, Hereford and Ludlow College, as well as their parents and carers who came along to share in the celebrations.
There was also a dance performance from Derwen College students (Derwen on tour).
“Thank you for supporting me and always believing me – and thank you for trying to think of other jobs for me to do” Georgie
“I was really impressed by all the young people who stood up and gave their views on their internship. It is wonderful how much help you give these sometimes forgotten youngsters and the progression they have made into adulthood. Enable is truly a wonderful organisation.” (mother of supported intern)
Supported internships are for young people aged 16-24 with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who want to get a job and need extra support to do this.
Alongside their time with the employer, young people complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications required by the employer, which includes English and Maths.
During the conference employers and interns described their experiences of taking part in the programme. The event also provided attendees an opportunity to share good practice around how to achieve an inclusive workforce as well as highlighting the benefits of employing a young person with a disability.
“It was a great day and it was inspiring to see the journey the young people had made in a supported environment. I felt it was a real success – and hopefully will encourage other employers to give a young person a chance.” Shropshire employer
James Mitchell, a supported intern and member of the Enable focus group* spoke to attendees about his employment journey and how he is now starting an apprenticeship with his employer.
“With Enable and supported internships, you get out what you put in. Doing a supported internship has made me come out of my shell a lot. I like the world of work!”
The celebration event marked the end of an 18-month employment project SEND and Enable have been working on to increase employment opportunities for young people with disabilities.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, health and social housing, added:-
“Shropshire’s supported internship event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of young people and the employers who generously give their time and support to develop our learners’ independence skills in the workplace.
“Their success is also a testament to our SEND and Enable teams who over the past 18 months, have worked in partnership with young people to ensure the success of the supported internship programme.
“It was a humbling experience seeing their hopes and aspirations turn into reality and seeing their proud parents and carers, who I know constantly strive for the best for their children.
“This event served as yet another reminder of why we do what we do – the effect the programme has on each learner and their families is extraordinary, we are so proud of all involved.”
For further information about supported internships and inclusive apprenticeships please contact Tracey Newell at Enable firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01743 276900
Enable were commissioned by the SEND team to raise awareness of supported internships and to increase the number of employers involved in the programme. Supported internships are a structured study programme based primarily with an employer with the aim of getting a paid job.
They enable young people aged 16-24 with a disability who have an Education, Health and Care Plan to gain employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.
*Enable established a focus group made up of young people with disabilities who have met regularly over the last 18 months and contributed substantially to the success of the project. The group have delivered presentations to senior managers at Shropshire Council and have been instrumental in helping the council provide inclusive apprenticeship opportunities as a progression route after a supported internship.
The focus group have been involved in preparing for the celebration event and all of them were involved on the day.