Since September 2018, the Council has hosted a group of young people as part of our Supported Internship programme. Delivered in partnership with the Council, Action Disability, and Ealing Hammersmith and West London College (EHWLC) the programme has helped young people, who have learning difficulties or disabilities to find a workplace that suits them. The group of 16 to 24 year olds have experienced working life first-hand and built their skills up to prepare them to progress into paid employment.
Supported Internships are a key part of the government's drive to improve preparation for employment for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), encouraging local authorities to bring together education providers, employers and job coaches to support young people who would otherwise find barriers to employment to access local opportunities.
Our first intake of interns took up posts throughout the Council and with local partners including Kensington Central Library, Housing Benefits, Chamberlain House Dementia Resource Centre, and more. The interns successfully completed three nine to 10 week placements over the course of the programme. The placements were carefully selected and adapted according to each intern’s abilities and career interests.
Last week we proudly hosted a graduation ceremony for the 10 interns that completed their placements and qualifications on the programme. Half of our graduates have already secured paid work or a further apprenticeship, two of which are at Kensington and Chelsea Council with further roles secured on the high street at Nando’s, The Golden Lion pub and Gail’s Bakery.
The remaining interns are being supported to help them take their next steps in finding work, education or an apprenticeship to further hone their skills.
Irim, one of the interns who worked in the Post Room at Kensington Town Hall, said: "I was able to start achieving my dream from my experience in my first rotation because the staff were very friendly and helpful. The staff also wanted to learn British Sign Language, which is my way of communicating, which helped to support my goals."
Lucas, another interns adds "In Nando's I work as a waiter, because I worked hard during my placement I got offered a paid job. The staff are kind to me and we all get along very well."
Cllr David Lindsay, Lead Member for Families, Children and Schools said: “It’s brilliant to hear about the success of the Supported Internship programme that has not only given young people vital experience in the workplace, but has already secured work for a number of the interns, and will no doubt result in more successes in the coming weeks and months. As our graduates take their next steps into the world of work, I congratulate them on completing the programme and offer them the every good wish for the future.”
Our programme to offer young adults with SEND opportunities to gain valuable work experience at the Council has been such a success that we are running it again in September 2019. If you're interested in next year's programme, and want to help us deliver on our council wide commitment of 'putting communities first' by offering a nine-week work placement to an intern with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) please contact Rachel Edwards, SEND Employment Pathways Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org.