Do you know where to find information on employment and training if you are aged 16-25 with a disability or learning difficulty in Southwark?

The first place you may want visit is Southwark Council’s Local Offer page for 16-25-year-olds (youth offer). On it, is the ‘Weekly Opportunities Bulletin’ which contains a PDF document divided in 8 areas: pre-apprenticeships/employability courses, traineeship vacancies, apprenticeship vacancies, part-time and temporary opportunities, events, graduate opportunities, European Opportunities and Job Centre Plus. The bulletin is produced for all of the local authorities in central London, Southwark Council
is one of them. There are many apprenticeships and traineeships providers listed but what is the difference between them?

Apprenticeships are on-the-job training opportunities that are paid whilst also studying and usually last 1-4 years depending on the training employer. At the end of
the apprenticeship period, the apprentice usually goes on to work for the employer. Traineeships are unpaid and offer work experience to get you ready for an apprenticeship or work. The idea is to offer work experience and learn work skills. This type of training typically lasts a few weeks to around 6 months. However, for young people with disabilities or learning difficulties, it is the support around their additional needs that is most important.

Supported Internships may provide an answer to this.

These are planned study programmes within a workplace which will “enable young people aged 16-24 with a statement of SEN, a learning difficulty assessment or an EHC plan to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.”

16-25: employment and training

Unfortunately, supported internships are unpaid and the young person will be required to study/work for at least 6 months. However, by the end of their internship programme, they should have gained valuable employment skills within businesses and will also have improved their self-confidence and personal development to move into paid employment. There are a number of supported internships being offered across London, including CareTrade’s The Autism Project (see opposite ‘Did You Know’).

Southwark is working in partnership with The Bosco Centre to provide supported internships. There are various roles on offer in the hospitality and leisure industry. In order to enter into a Supported Internship, you will need to be aged between 17 and 24 and have an EHC plan.

For more information contact Catherine Verrinder or Theo Harris on 020 7525 2845 or 020 7232 0440.

It is unfortunate that Southwark’s young disabled people without an EHC plan are unable to access support. There are many young people in Southwark who have a disability but no EHC plan who could benefit greatly from supported internships. For example, people with Asperger’s Syndrome (many of whom have no EHC plan in Southwark), have impairments in social communication and interaction which may prevent them from even attending a job interview.

Nonetheless, there are some organisations out there offering help, employment and apprenticeships for people with all kinds of disabilities:

Camden Society – Unity Kitchen
Fire Cadets –
BBC: Extend Hub

If you would like to let us know about your young person’s experience of looking for employment or training, please get in touch.

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