Young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will benefit from a new government initiative to provide tailored support to adequately prepare them for the workplace.
With an employment rate of just 7% for those with severe forms of SEND, the Government piloted a set of internships, which resulted in a figure of 36% gaining paid employment. As a result of this success, £5 million in funding will be made available, which will be used to foster relationships with employers, set up employment services and assist schools in preparing young people for the world of work.
Employing those with disabilities
Announcing the initiative at an event at Mencap’s offices in London on 12 March, children and families minister Edward Timpson MP said: “The £5 million announced today will mean many more talented young people in supported internships and work placements, helping them make that first step onto the career ladder.”
The round table included 25 people that had already completed internships, Mencap staff, and representatives from companies such as KPMG and McDonald’s that already employ those with special educational needs.
Head of employer engagement at Mencap Mark Capper said: “Many barriers stop people with a learning disability securing a job, from a lack of work experience opportunities, through to the often negative attitudes of employers and a lack of accessible information.
“We see people with a learning disability succeed in employment with the right support. This includes support not only to find work, but to develop in their role once they are employed. We welcome any initiative that will give people the skills, confidence and opportunities they need to move into the workplace.”
The funding will be distributed among local authorities, which can use it to: help education providers to improve preparation for employment and implement study programmes; and forge relationships with employers to implement work placements and internships.