YOUNG people with special educational needs and/or disabilities are to be given extra help to join the workforce.
Salford City Council, the University of Salford, Salford City College and Pure Innovations are to launch a new, specially designed supported internship for young people aged 16-24.
Starting in September it will provide them with range of work placements to help develop their skills, confidence and experience within a workplace setting. A team based at Salford City Council will help identify, develop and host work placements and support learners and staff involved in them.
Councillor Lisa Stone, lead member for children’s and young people’s services, said it was a huge step forward in helping young people fulfil their ambitions.
“At the moment only 15 young people in Salford are in supported internships and only 2.3% of adults with learning difficulties are in paid employment in our city compared to 7.7% nationally. That’s a huge waste of people’s potential and ambition,” she said.
“We know that most young people with SEND can succeed in paid employment with the right preparation and support and we’re determined to give them that chance.”
Professor Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience at the University of Salford said: “It is a real privilege to be involved in such an exciting and forward thinking scheme. Our driving force at the University of Salford is to produce career ready graduates with the life skills to recognise the potential of our diverse population.
“Encouraging young people with learning disabilities to take the step into employment by working alongside our students inspires reciprocal learning and supports an ambitious future for students and interns alike.”
The new programme will run for a full academic year, with interns spending four days a week on placements which will rotate every two to three months. They will spend an hour and a half in the classroom learning new skills at the start or end of each day and three to four hours per day with their employer.
It’s based on the successful supported internship that has been operating at Salford Royal Foundation Trust for the past six years. Fifty young people have taken up internships there and half have gone into paid employment as a direct result of the programme.
Amanda Noon, Employment Development and Operations Manager at Pure added: “Supported internships are the perfect bridge from education to employment and demonstrate how all our young people can successfully work when given the right opportunity. The existing supported internship with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Eccles College has been a huge success and we are delighted to be given the opportunity to extend this and work with Salford University and Salford Council, both enthusiastic and committed partners.”