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Gloucestershire Business News

Supported Internships: Employers needed!

A SGS College scheme to help young people with disabilities into work is looking for more employers to offer placements around the county.

The Supported Internship is a course for young people with learning difficulties who wish to gain access to the world of work. Students taking part in the scheme may have one or more of: mild learning disability; autism, Down's Syndrome; Social Communication Disorder. They are aged between 18 and 25 and are all keen and willing to work!

Just because a young person has a learning disability, it doesn't mean they can't do the same sorts of jobs as others. SGS College uses job coaches to support young people and train them in the job they wish to do. The job coaches will attend the workplace with the learner for as long as they are needed.

The end goal is to provide the young person with the skills needed to get a paid job, either in their current position or in another one if there are no paid roles available at that time.

Learners will often need tasks broken down into chunks and the job coach will train them in these tasks. They may also struggle socially to engage with colleagues and need support to bridge the gap. The job coach will help them gain the confidence they need to talk to their employer and colleagues.

Learners spend two to three days a week in their work placements, for up to four hours a day. The job coaches provide intensive support, with a slow fade away as time goes by.

The college is looking for new placements to start from September. The majority of students are based in Stroud and Gloucester, but the college is also looking for placements in Cirencester and Tetbury this year.

Internships are for the full academic year, from September to July. Some interns may change placements halfway through, to give them the experience of a different workplace and different type of work to learn new skills. In addition to their time in the workplace, students spend one day a week at college.

The college will assess the most suitable students for your business. A Supported Internship will increase diversity in the workplace and encourage disability awareness and confidence. It can also help a business to fill vacant posts.

Seven out of 10 students in previous cohorts have gone onto paid employment, with many employers working with their interns for another year.

The Supported Internship doesn't cost an employer anything, as the job coach is employed using DWP Access to Work funding. Business won't be expected to pay the young person for the year they are on the course.

If employers are interested in finding out more, contact SGS College Supported Internship job coaches, Lauren Knight, lauren.knight@sgscol.ac.uk 01453 761209 / 07747567154, or Charlotte Niedzwiecki, 07538 647724.

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