Three learners from Myerscough College's Merseyside campus at Croxteth Park have completed a programme aimed at helping young people who need extra help to move into employment.
Myerscough has been working in partnership with Liverpool City Council to put learners through their Supported Internship Programme. Supported Internships are aimed at young people who want to move into employment and are intended to enable the young person to become ‘job ready’. This is done to try and break down the barriers between young people with learning difficulties and a potential employer.
This week the three Myerscough College Liverpool supported interns – Simon Challinor, Brogan McDonagh and Jack Garvey – attended a ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall to celebrate their achievements, receiving certificates signed by Steve Reddy, Director of Children & Young People Services.
Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an Educational Health Care Plan.
The core aim of a supported internship is a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an trained job coach. Supported internships last for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year. Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by the school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, English and maths.
Every young person is supported in the work placement by a trained job coach, put in place by their education provider or a supported employment agency. The job coach provides in-work support that tapers off, if appropriate, as the supported intern becomes familiar with their role. Job coaches also work with employers, increasing their confidence in employing individuals with additional needs and helping them to create and support a diverse workforce.
Helen Eaton, Assistant Principal Liverpool at Myerscough College, said: ''At the end of this programme the interns stand a real chance of gaining employment.
''Their employability skills are significantly enhanced from when they started. Their work colleagues and supervisors have also had the opportunity to experience the value first hand of employing a young person with a learning difficulty or disability.
''A vital part of the programme is about removing misconceptions regarding young people with learning difficulties with employers. Many in the workplace are surprised what a positive contribution these young people make.
''The Supported Internship programme provides the opportunity for Myerscough College to work with both young people and their supervisors.
''It’s about creating work-ready young people and removing any barriers that may be present in the workplace that could stop the employer from taking on a young person with learning difficulties. I’m so proud of the progress that’s being made.''
Just six percent of young people with learning disabilities are in employment, and the aim of the scheme is to help them transition from education in to the world of work, so they can live more independently and don’t become socially isolated.