Cheshire East Council is encouraging businesses to open their doors and give jobs to young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
The call, which is supported by schools and colleges, follows ITV Granada Reports’ interest in Adam, who is 22, a hard worker and who loves being busy.
Adam is autistic, non-verbal and has minimal understanding of spoken language. He has worked hard with his job coach to develop his skills and confidence and has overcome many barriers to achieve his potential.
Adam has benefited from a supported internship scheme at Thermmark, in Congleton, since January, where he has secured a permanent 25-hour contract with regular overtime.
Supported internships are funded and delivered by the Cheshire East SEND Partnership, a multi-agency partnership which includes Cheshire East Council, education and health providers, parents and carers.
The scheme is for young people with an education health and care plan between the age of 16 and 24. A supported internship helps to bridge the gap from education into paid work by providing additional support for both the young person and the employer.
The supported internship consists of time with an education provider and time in a work placement. Most of the young person’s time is spent with the employer with the support from a job coach.
A supported internship is not work experience – it is about developing ‘real’ skills for a ‘real’ job. The programme helps young people with a disability to become work ready, with support. It is also an opportunity for young people to understand exactly what is expected of them in the workplace and helps them to develop confidence in their own ability.
Kathryn Flavell, Cheshire East Council’s lead member for children and families, said: “Our drive in Cheshire East is for the best outcomes for children and young people with additional needs.
“Young people have told us on many occasions during sessions planning for their preparation for adulthood, that their aspiration is for paid employment.
“This is why we have put every effort and resource into fulfilling the lifetime ambitions of our young people, by developing an excellent supported internship programme.
“Adam’s story is so heart-warming to hear and I’d encourage all employers to consider offering a supported internship, giving someone with additional needs the same life chances as every other young person.”
Any businesses that are interested in helping a young person with disabilities into employment can email the council or call 01260 375468