Since August of 2013, anyone sixteen to nineteen years of age that are enrolled in school part or full time has been expected to follow a study program. The age range changes to sixteen to twenty four if the person enrolled in a Learning Difficulty Assessment, or Health and Care plan.
One type of study program is called a supported internship. It is aimed at helping people who are special needs students, are enrolled in a Learning Difficulty Assessment, or Health and Care plan. The program helps when these students want to get a job and need a little help in getting it.
All colleges, sixth form, and independent specialist providers offer the programme and work with local employers and employment services.
This programme will help them develop skills and gain some experience to be successful with their careers. There is a large number of people that qualify for this program that are able to achieve stable careers with the right amount of coaching and support and all professionals that work with them in this program with think the same thing. The support internships programmes allow people with special needs to learn skills that employers need from their workers, this includes learning necessary qualification and learning math and English at the required level. To help with this, this programme is based primarily at an employer’s business.
The personalised program usually lasts for 12 months, six of those months being unpaid work placements. Afterward, people working with the student try their best to move them into paid employment.
Do they work?
The purpose of the supported internships program is to prepare people with special needs for a paying job. This is done by teaching them the skills that employers need, allowing them to demonstrate this skill in the employer’s business, and letting them gain confidence and courage in their own capabilities to be successful in their future job. Other goals of the program includes gaining experience to put on a CV, showing employers that the person has a drive to work as well as changing the beliefs of the employer (perhaps one perception could be that a person with special needs cannot work). Some skills that can be taught at the employer’s business can be handling money, interacting with customers, and handling problems that could arise in the workplace. They also will learn to independently travel to and from work.
In December 2013, the Department of Education release a report that summarized the trial outcomes of this program. Of 190 people that completed the program, 36% found paid work and 26% began volunteer work. Others were not employed or planned to further their training and education. While all internships do not end in a person getting into a paid position, this opportunity will open up the doors for special needs people. By increasing their skill set, awareness of how real workplaces operate, and meet employers that understand their struggles, their chances of getting a paying job increase.
The primary example of supported interships in Project SEARCH but there are other models
Supported Internships: Other Programs
The EmployAbility National Grid program is designed for students that are seventeen to twenty two years old that have learning disabilities. Students can gain and improve skills that are needed in work environments and even earn a BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) qualification by working with local schools and communities. The skills and qualification they gain with National grid will increase their likelihood of being hired into a paying job position.
First, National Grid finds roles that a student intern can fill within their departments and supply chain partners. The student will spend around three months in the role chosen for them with a job coach as support. During the student’s final year of school, the student completes three internships with job coaches trained to help people with special needs.
The job coaches go into the business, learn the role that will be the student’s, break it down into manageable parts, train the student where they will be able to do it, and help them get comfortable. Once the student gets confident in their abilities to do the role, the job coach slowly steps away.
As a result, students quickly integrate into the business’ environment. They start to gain confidence and realise that they actually can do their job well, instead of failing at it as they might have been told in the past. Once this confidence improves, so do their goals for the future. Their internship with National Grid goes onto their CV and it shows potential employers that they can work in a business setting.
Since being established in 1997, Bright Futures is now the largest career based society in the United Kingdom. The society was developed to be a peer to peer organization that led the way for students to learn skills that employers find necessary for potential employees to have. Students have the chance in speaking with graduate recruiters and get the chance to browse the difference industries and corporations in the world.
Bright Futures can help you no matter what you career you are interested in, what you are studying, or what grade you are in.
Again these supported internships are employment-based courses which aim to provide students with additional needs the chance to develop employability skills. They are based in employment settings
The internships are a partnership between a host employer such as a hospital or council; a college providing on-site tuition and a specialist employment provider (pure innovations).
This model gives each intern a person-centred support plan tailored to their needs. Interns skills are job matched within the employer’s organisation. Again as with the Project SEARCH model They then undertake a rotation of three ten-week work placements giving them experience in a variety of jobs.