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Cheshire East marks National Supported Internships Day with business engagement event

Cheshire East Council marked National Supported Internships Day by hosting an event for local businesses, exploring the benefits of supported internships, and hiring an intern through the scheme.

The event took place at The_Space, Congleton, and highlighted elements of the scheme, which matches an intern with an educational health and care plan (EHCP) aged 16-24 to an organisation.

The internship usually lasts for around 12 months with the individual being fully supported by a job coach at the place of work. The job coach trains the intern to do the job, building on skills, confidence and independence.

This is a scheme set up from the ‘internship works’ DfE programme, which has been running since 2022 and has targets to double the number of supported interns nationally by 2025. The supported internship programme at Cheshire East has been adopted by the council since 2019, with yesterday's event possible due to government funding.

At the event, attendees viewed video testimonials from Siemens, alongside supported interns, while having the opportunity to network and discover more about the process. The general managers from Crewe Hall and Everybody health & leisure also presented-sharing their supported internship journey.

This year’s National Supported Internships Day is the first national celebration of the scheme, having been launched last year by charity DFN project SEARCH. 

During the day the council shared how the input of businesses can help transform the lives of young people with a learning disability or autistic spectrum condition. 

By offering real on-the-job experience combined with training in employability, it raised awareness of the difference that can be made in a business to help young people make the successful transition to adult life.

As part of National Supported Internships Day there was also a focus on the economic benefits to employers, providing access to a new, diverse talent stream with skills to match labour needs.

Councillor Carol Bulman, lead member for children and families at Cheshire East Council, said:

“This event saw a fantastic turnout of local businesses who came along to help offer their support and intention to recruit a supported intern, to not only boost their business, but offer vital life and career skills for that individual.

“We are delighted with the way the community has embraced this scheme so far, and are continuing to see a great take-up of young people who are putting themselves forward to be involved, resulting in increased confidence, social, professional and employability skills.

“It’s great to see this scheme being recognised and celebrated nationally, and I have no doubt we’ll go on to see more success stories in Cheshire East from both our supported interns, and local businesses who go on to hire these young people”.

The council will be continuing to commit to this scheme, and is hosting an informal event for potential supported interns at Sandbach Town Hall on 21 May, from 5.30pm-7pm. 

This will be a drop-in session for any young person from year 8 and upwards with an EHCP, so they can find out more about the scheme and sign up to become a supported intern. 

This is ideal for those looking to work, once they have left school or college and for anyone looking to gain experience to help secure paid employment in the future. 

The council will also soon be offering accessibility and diversity e-learning training to businesses involved with the scheme, which will be embedded into the delivery programme ready for next year’s cohorts of businesses who sign up.

Additional information about the supported internships scheme can also be found here: 

Cheshire East website. 

For more information or to enquire about joining the scheme as an individual or employer, email: 

supportedemployment@cheshireeast.gov.uk

You can watch a videoslide show of the event here...

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