Barry Jones, is Area Lead for the Complex Needs service within children’s services at Leeds City Council. This service is for children and young people from 0 to 25 years with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and their families.
Today Barry talks about the work his team do to provide the help they need to get them into the world of work after leaving school.
“A huge thanks to the child friendly Leeds team for inviting me to the ambassadors event in October. The agenda was action packed, focusing on all things around supporting young people into education, training and employment. The event took place at SCRAP, a fantastic creative reuse art project at The Spinning Mill in Farsley. It was an amazing place, and one I would highly recommend for a visit.
My team work closely with Leeds city college and Swarthmore, our special inclusion learning centres, to pilot ‘Supported Internships’. Around 30 students with SEND, in their final year of learning, will be going out on a 6-12 month work placement in companies and organisations across the city. We hope at the end of it, they will achieve paid employment and have the skills and experience they need through learning in the workplace. These unpaid internships form part of the young person’s programme of study at their college or post 16 provider. Every experience is different, as every young person has different abilities and career aspirations. The students spend most of their time within the organisation, treated as any employee would be, and expected to comply with job conditions. Job coaches paid for by the college will be on hand to support interns and employers as needed.
At the end of the internship it is hoped that if there are vacancies, the company will have seen first-hand the strengths and skills of the young person, who will also have a good feel for the company and they will be offered a permanent position within the company.
I was really pleased, that after the ambassador event, a number of organisations who were there offered to get involved. I’d like to give a huge thanks to them, and am also pleased to announce that the council will be providing between 8-12 supported internship placements over this coming year.
We have produced a short film about internships, so why not take a break from the e-mails and pop the kettle on while we tell you about them.
If you would like to find out more or think you may be able to help with providing supported internship placements, please do get in touch. Our contact details are at the end of the film.”