At Totton College, we work hard to ensure we’re integrated as part of the local community. This National Supported Internship Day, we’re looking at how we work with local employers to offer work opportunities to our students with a wide range of learning disabilities.
National Supported Internship Day, which takes place on the 27th of March, aims to highlight the need to improve access to work for young people with learning disabilities and autism.
The solution to many problems faced by young people with a learning disability, autism spectrum condition, or both is straightforward: competitive employment.
Yet only 4.8% of people in England with a learning disability and/or autism who are known to local authorities go on to secure paid employment, compared to 80% of their peers.
Our Supported Internship Programme supports learners with a range of disabilities to develop skills for work. It does this by providing each learner with a Job Coach who works with them to find employment by supporting them with the application, interview, and training process.
Our links with local employers provide learners with the opportunity to explore possible career paths, as well as meet the local business need.
This year, we have had over 16 local businesses involved in our programme, ranging from local radio, to bookshops, supermarkets, and the local highways agency.
Bradbeers, who took on an intern, said: ‘I am thankful that Totton College approached me to ask if I would consider a placement for a young man. It has helped me find a reliable, hardworking employee that has become an excellent addition and very well thought of member of the Bradbeers team. I will definitely consider this option again as the process was very easy and the support offered by his job coach made the process from internship to employment a very positive experience.”
Over a third of our interns have gone onto paid jobs in the companies they interned with. One student gained multiple job offers, before choosing to accept an apprenticeship with Royal Mail.
Our students also undertook engagement visits and community volunteering days. Engagement visits involved learners visiting business such as Barclays and the Employment Hub in Southampton. Here business leaders can help our learners with interview skills, workplace social skills and interactions, and provide CV tips. All of which are skills that will help our learners when it comes to applying for jobs and work.
One student said: “I’ve learned a lot since I started the course from learning how to do cover letters and CV’s, to mock interviews and applying for jobs online. This has given me confidence to go out on a work placement to a local Library in Lordshill. It’s given me confidence to meet new people, interact with them, and find out what role they do in their jobs.”
To get involved as a business with Totton College, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org