Positive and Possible - SEND Employment Support
Page Updated: 3rd August 2020
Hundreds of young adults are overlooked for jobs because of a disability or autism despite being skilled and ready to work. We're raising awareness of the issue and helping teachers, parents and employers work together to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities to achieve their career goals.
We want every young person to feel inspired and prepared for the world of work. For children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) finding a job can pose unique demands and challenges. Research shows that the majority of young people with SEND are capable of getting paid employment, with the right preparation and support.
Despite the UK having record high levels of employment only 48% of disabled people are in work and for people with a learning disability this drops to 6%.
Work is underway nationally to make sure the Government’s career strategy meets the needs of SEND young people and how schools can be supported to design and deliver appropriate careers support.
We want young people with SEND to be excited about fulfilling their dreams of finding a job and employers to be aware of the rich pool of talent and skills available.
We believe that every student should have the opportunity to gain employment if they have the desire and drive to do so regardless of disability.
There is evidence that paid work is good for you and it will help you to have an independent a life as possible.
Your teachers, families and carers have an important role to play in helping you make informed choices about your future, offering support and guidance along the way.
Whilst you are still at school you should have the opportunity to go out into the community on work experience placements. Vocational profiling may help you find suitable work placements.
Here is a film from Oak Grove College in Worthing with students talking about their work experience.
From Year 7 onward you should be thinking about what career you would like to look into and what skills and experience you might need.
Here are two case studies of students who are now working:
Michael, a student at Post-16 Unit has been doing his work experience placement at a clothes shop in Worthing. This has led to a part-time job for him working at weekends. Michael’s work experience included a range of tasks including working on the shop floor, stock room and bag packing. Michael says:
I really enjoyed my work especially meeting and interacting with customers. The new skills I have gained have increased my confidence and given me more independence, and inspired my friends to seek work. I love it!
An electrical engineering company in Worthing supports Joshua on work placement in their Assembly Department. Graham Smith, Parts Supervisor, said:
Having Joshua with us for his work experience placement has been good for us all. Joshua is a keen and motivated young man, his spirit is contagious and he has been a welcome addition to our team. He is happy to undertake any task that is given to him and keen to learn and perfect new skills. His positive attitude and friendly approach makes him a pleasure to have around. We all wish him the very best of luck in his bright future”.
Manor Green is a secondary school for pupils between the ages of 11 and 19 who experience a wide range of learning difficulties.
A top priority for the school is to make sure the students that are able to work are prepared for the job market.
Former students who now have jobs shared their stories about the benefits of working in the hope of inspiring current pupils. They talked about the qualities they believe young people need to succeed in the workplace such as reliability, determination and being polite. Read their inspiring stories and top tips.
Here are a few things to encourage you:
When choosing a school or college find out what help it will offer with your career:
Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because you have special educational needs and disabilities. You are able to ask for reasonable adjustments at all stages of recruitment and once in work.
There is funding called ‘Access to Work’ which helps you in work and training.
Make the most of the connections you already have, it’s often ‘Who you know’ who can help. Is there someone you know, maybe in the family or neighbours, who is connected to the career you are interested in? Can they offer you work experience; let you know when opportunities come up; check your CV; look through your Personal Statement; or talk to you about what the work is like?
Apprenticeships and Supported Internships are ways to work and train at the same time.
Go to Your Space for further information.
Go to the Easy Read Access to Work information.
We know that the greatest influence on young people when nurturing aspirations will always be from the people they are closest to. Having early conversations about careers is important and having good information at the right time is key.
Paid work is good for us all, it can give us financial independence, new friends and it’s good for our physical and mental health. We also know that sometimes myths can grow which are not helpful.
Consider creative ways to help young people to overcome the barriers they may face to find work. Get in touch if you want to find out some of the things that are working well.
If your child has an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) make sure this includes what type of work they want to do, an idea of where they would like to work and the steps to get there.
A good starting place is:
Where to go if you want more information:
The Gatsby Foundation, The Careers & Enterprise Company and Disability Rights UK, along with other partners in the sector, are working together to develop further best practice and interpretation of the Gatsby Benchmarks to build on The Careers & Enterprise Company SEND toolkit.
Where to go if you want more information:
In the UK the current employment rate for disabled people is shockingly low and for people with a learning disability only 6% are in employment with 60% wishing to find work. This means that many employers in West Sussex are missing out on a rich pool of talent and skills of people with special educational needs and disabilities.
In West Sussex there is support for young people with special needs and disabilities through careers development in schools, supported employment provision when they leave education, college courses and community incentives. We all want to work in partnerships with employers to get the best results for young people and their employers.
Please get in touch so we can tell you more and explore how we can work with you. Let us know if you have any questions or ways you think we can help.
As a first step consider becoming a disability confident employer
What do employers who are getting involved say?
Here are two case studies for West Sussex employers:
Lisa employed by Sainsbury’s.
Sam employed by MacDonald’s, Greenaway Residential Services and Crawley Rugby Club.
Where to go if you want more information:
RESOURCES FOR ALL
"Our Mythbusting Quiz can help to raise awareness and look at some of the misconceptions?. Use the quiz with staff teams and with families.”
Below is links to YouTube videos of young people with SEND discussing their experience of their time in employment:
Former Oak Grove College student Jordan talks to Davina McCall on ITV's This Time Next Year, about how his autism didn't hold him back from getting a paid job at a local leisure centre. Watch Jordan's first paid job
For more information and guidance get in touch with us. And if you have inspiring stories about your own experiences please let us know - we'd love to hear from you.
Email 0330 222 3796 Email [email protected]
- Moving to adult health care
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