Suffolk County Council is working with local Further Education colleges and 6th Form centres to try and find more workplace opportunities for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. There are approximately 5,000 16-24 year olds in Suffolk with some form of learning difficulty or disability. The overwhelming majority of these are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support and are keen to make an economic contribute to society.
The campaign kicked off with a breakfast meeting for employers at Suffolk One on Tuesday 7th March. Over 30 businesses attended the launch to find out about the benefits and barriers to offering work experience, traineeships or Supported Internships to young people.
Among the employers who attended were Tesco, Suffolk Police, St Elizabeth Hospice and Realise Futures. All these employers spoke positively about their experiences.
"Our business has offered work experience for several years. The skills, passion and individual personalities of these young people have been a pleasure to see. It also helps us to communicate the values of our organisation to the rest of the staff and our customers".
Georgina Hanser, Director of Curriculum at One said our Foundation Learning students have the same hopes dreams and aspirations as all of our young people. As a community, it is our collective responsibility to ensure the appropriate stepping stones are available so they can realise their goals. Our action packed Benefits and Barriers Day was SENDsational! Students loved the wide range of employability workshops and it was extremely uplifting to hear from our current partners about the benefits they see our young people bring to their business.
Employers who take on young people for work experience or offer Supported Internships are also eligible for The New Anglia Youth Pledge Marque. This is an award from the Local Enterprise Partnership that recognises local businesses' commitment to supporting the future workforce, helping to align skills and grow the economy.
The campaign will run from March until July. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Sendsational@suffolk.gov.uk