The Wokingham Paper

Partnership between school and council helps teenagers with additional needs adapt to the world of work

Addington School

A NEW partnership has been launched to help teenagers with additional needs get into work. 

Wokingham Borough Council and Addington School have teamed up for the joint internship scheme which aims to get SEND students appropriate work.

So far, four teenagers aged between 17 and 19 have joined the authority for a placement.

The council said that they are already making an impact, whether assisting our customer service team delivering front line services, helping our library teams ensure people are able to find the books they love or mucking in with the countryside service at Dinton Pastures.

The scheme runs for the academic year and aims to offer these young people, who all have special educational needs and/or a disability, the chance to gain valuable work experience and set them up for long term employment after they leave education. 

All four interns joined the council following successful completion of an interview process earlier this year.

They are supported by a job coach who helps them continue with their functional learning as well as making sure they are developing the skills required for their job.

As well as learning on the job, it helps them increase their independence through arranging their own travel to and from work, increases confidence and making sure they are appropriately attired for the workplace. In the long term it is hoped the scheme will help these young people get jobs, whether it is with the council or elsewhere.

“The scheme will undoubtedly prove beneficial for these young people, Addington School and the council,”  said Sal Thirlway, assistant director for children’s services (learning, achievement and partnerships).

“These fantastic young people are already making a difference for our staff, while also helping improve disability awareness across the authority. I’m proud we have started such a scheme and hope we can go on to offer some of these young people full-time positions following their internships.”

Kim Mead, Addington School’s Supported Internship Lead added: “We hope all the young people involved in the scheme will be able to go on to employment after going through the scheme.

“Some may want to go onto something different, such as further education, but we want all of them to be better placed to go onto full or part-time work after being part of the scheme.

“They are all getting something out of it and it has a mutual benefit as they are making a difference within the departments where they are working already. All the feedback on the programme so far has been extremely positive. 

“All the teams we are working with have welcomed the students and we already seeing an increase in confidence and them showing a sense of responsibility in the roles they are performing.”

Addington School says it is always looking for more partners on its internship scheme. 

For more information, please contact Kim Mead, Careers lead at Addington School, on 0118 966 9073.

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