The Complex Needs Service within the council work closely with Leeds City College and Swarthmore, our special inclusion learning centres, to pilot ‘Supported Internships’.
Around 30 students with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), in their final year of learning, go 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.
This week (21st June) we were joined by three interms, as well as Pluss, an organisation that offers employment, development and training opportunities for people who have disabilities, their website is: http://www.pluss.org.uk/. PLUSS have been contracted to provide the job coaches for the supported internship pilot for the young people at the Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres (SILCs), as we hosted an information stand all about supported internships at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
The event was organised by the team at Tenfold as part of Learning Disability week 2016. The playhouse was packed with stalls, people and pop up performances throughout the day. The interns did a great job of sharing their experiences and telling people about supported internships.
We caught up with the three interns to see how their internships were going and how they found the event.
We asked Matthew what he likes about his internship he said he likes preparing the clothes to be sold, pricing products and helping people. Matthew told us that the internship is his first work experience and that it is a different environment to school but he likes it.
Matthew said his job coach sees him every week and will soon be helping him with some money handling training. He also said that the people he works with in the shop have been helpful and friendly.
Matthew is still learning skills for adulthood which at college which he said have helped him in his internship.
Rebecca told us that during the event people had been asking her interesting questions. After looking around at the different organisations in the Market Place she signed up to two groups.
Rebecca thought it was good that she was able to answer people’s questions from her experience in an internship. Rebecca said has gained work experience and new skills such as more confidence through her supported internship.
Kevin is in an internship with the West Yorkshire Playhouse and recently worked at the Beyond festival where he was welcoming people and giving information. Kevin said he wanted some work experience and wanted to work at the WYP because he is good at dancing and loves drawing and films.
Kevin thinks that the video gives some good advice about Supported Internships.
For more information about supported internships watch this video link.