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First GC Supported Internship Programme a success

20 February 2017

A pilot scheme established by Gloucestershire College and Gloucestershire County Council in January 2015 has been successful in securing employment for special educational needs (SEND).

The nine-month Supported Internship scheme was launched with the aim of giving 18 to 25 year olds with moderate to complex learning difficulties an opportunity to develop functional and employability skills.

The scheme was led by Vicki Walters, Disability Employment Commissioner at Gloucestershire County Council, who was determined to tackle the fact that young disabled people often don't get the same opportunities as the non-disabled. Gloucestershire College took on the operation of the programme, and with the help of employment specialists, Remploy, the Premier Inn hotel chain was brought on board to take on 12 interns.

The interns were spread between seven hotels, which they attended three days a week for five hour shifts beginning in housekeeping roles. Additionally they attended college one day a week to learn functional maths and English skills, as well as employability workshops, and were each allocated a job coach, who met with them daily.

Of the 12 young people who took part in the internship scheme, eight have since secured employment in housekeeping, caring and catering roles, two of which remain with Premier Inn.

Vicki Walters said: "We now have people working who would probably never have worked before, this means they can fulfil their ambition, be part of the community and make a valid contribution."

Due to its success, the Supported Internship Programme has been expanded during the 2016/17 academic year to include 33 interns across three colleges, who are carrying out their internships at 16 employers. Going forward, Gloucestershire County Council aims to provide 40 internships each year.

GC Head of Independent Living and Discover Pathways for SEND students, Kirsty Foran said: "Supported internships give our young people the opportunity to become employable that was never
available previously."

The Supported Internship Scheme was featured in the February issue of Children & Young People Now magazine. Click here to read the full article.

For more information about the Independent Living and Discover programmes for SEND students at Gloucestershire College visit: www.gloscol.ac.uk/student-and-parent-guide/local-offer-send/

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