Businesses join supported internships forum to help young people with SEND

Businesses across the borough have joined forces to launch a Supported Internships Forum.

Businesses join supported internships forum to help young people with SEND

The new network has been set up to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and move them closer to the workplace by giving them skills as well as practical experience.

Local companies and training providers have come forward to join the forum and help give young people new employment opportunities.

The forum took place for the first time on Friday 20 October at Wrekin Housing Group and attracted businesses from different sectors locally.

Supported internships last from 6 to 12 months and typically, the young person will spend part of the week in training and the rest of it in the workplace.

They are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

An internship is a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an expert job coach, and should contribute to the long-term career goals of the young person and match their capabilities.

Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by their school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, and English and Maths at an appropriate level.

There are many benefits to businesses which support an intern which include improved performance or retention rates in some hard-to-fill posts and developing a workforce representative of the local community which demonstrates they are a fair and inclusive employer.

It can also help to boost workplace morale and give existing staff the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership qualities by mentoring young people on the programme.

Supported internships can also help young people to develop the skills valued by employers, demonstrate their value in the workplace and gain confidence in their own abilities to perform successfully at work.

Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy, said: “We are keen for employers to support our young people with special educational needs – helping them to gain valuable experience in the workplace and a firm foothold with their future career.

“We know our employers are already very supportive of our young people but they may want to find out more about accommodating those with disabilities and special educational needs.

“Hopefully, this forum will help businesses to work together and share how they can best deliver supported internships in their workplaces.”  

Businesses which are interested in joining the forum and can help young people across the borough can call Mark O’Neil on 01952 383142 or email 

Photo: Business representatives at the first supported internship forum.