Preparing young people with learning disabilities for work

A team of Job Coaches at Henshaws Specialist College in Harrogate work with our supported internship students, all of whom have a learning disability, to enhance their employability skills, helping them to achieve their full potential for living independently and preparing them for the workplace.

Learning work-based skills

During their supported internship programme, students are taught a range of subjects including interview skills, and health and safety at work, as well as employee rights and responsibilities. However, the majority of a students’ time is spent on a work placement with a local employer carrying out a job role designed to meet the employers specific business needs.

Excellent relationships with local employers who can offer work placements to our students are key to the success of the programme.  We work with a wide range of businesses, from small local companies to national organisations.

Our students are given pre-employment training directly linked to identified types of work. They may be involved in small profit-making business ventures or gain direct experience of career paths such as catering and gardening.

Benefits for employers

Work placements are designed to better enable these young people with learning disabilities to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with skills needed to succeed at work.

Offering a supported internship placement to a student can enhance an employer’s ability to meet diversity targets, save on recruitment time and costs, and help reinforce a perception of being forward thinking and innovative.

Additionally, evidence suggests that workers with disabilities demonstrate great performance and have excellent attendance.  A diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities can also improve morale and increase good will amongst customers and buyers.

Benefit Information

Our job coaches also provide a high level of support to employers, increasing their confidence of working with placement students and helping them understand the business case for employing a diverse workforce.  We also provide employers with training to raise awareness of the impact of disability and to promote positive and effective strategies to get the best from their internship student.

The supported internship programme has much to offer to an employer but most of all gives a chance for our students to demonstrate their remarkable potential.

Employers often feel that hiring someone with a learning disability will be expensive or difficult. We hope that employers will engage with our supported internship programme and give our students the opportunity to challenge this view."

Patrick Barker, Job Coach at Henshaws Specialist College

Henshaws is continuing to develop relationships with employers in Yorkshire to provide the supported internships and, in due course, supported employment. The programme is focused on establishing the right sort of opportunity for each student. This is a chance for employers to more easily access a much under-used resource in the form of a skilled and highly motivated workforce, full of people eager to prove themselves.

If you are an employer who may be able to offer a work placement opportunity and would like more information please contact Patrick Barker,  Henshaws Job Coach, via email patrick.barker@henshaws.org.uk or call 01423 886451.

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