Yorkshire colleges to lead way in special needs support

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A NEW scheme to support young people with special educational needs into long term work is to be piloted by two colleges in Yorkshire later this year.

The Government has launched a £3m programme of supported internships for 16 to 25-year-olds who are disabled or have complex learning difficulties.

It will be trialled at 15 colleges across the country from September, including Hull and Shipley.

If successful the approach could be rolled out across all further education colleges in 2013. Supported internships will see students take part in a study programme, based at an employer, that is tailored to individual needs and will equip them with the skills they need for the workplace.

This will include on-the-job training, backed by expert “job coaches” to support interns and employers, and the chance to study for relevant qualifications if appropriate.

The Government says creating this work experience opportunity will boost young people’s confidence and independence.

Shipley College has identified 15 students that it will be supporting through the internship scheme this year.

Principal Nav Chohan said: “We have a great reputation for supporting young people with learning needs. We do this by making sure that we engage with students and support them into college life. Our next job is to support them after their full-time education and into a fulfilling adult life.

“We are looking at a range of employers that can support these young people on to the next stage. This funding is a recognition of what we do here at Shipley College. But most important it gives an opportunity to support employers who wish to offer young people with learning needs a chance to start successful careers.”

Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and Families, said: “This is about helping young people with complex needs learn the skills they need for the workplace within a real job situation. We have to be more ambitious and tap into huge potential in people with learning needs.”