Published: 27 April 2021
Supported Internships for young people with SEND
Westminster City Council has successfully supported young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) into employment by hosting a yearly Supported Internship programme.
The programme is in its second year and is in partnership with City of Westminster College and Westminster Employment.
Each September, 12 young people with SEND start the scheme and have the opportunity to complete three different work placement rotations with the support of an expert job coach.
The internships are full time education programmes, based four days a week in the workplace, and one day in college for young people who want to get a paid job.
Alongside work placements, the interns study English, maths and Entry 3/Level 1 employability qualifications one day a week in the on-site classroom at Westminster City Hall.
Potential work placements in the council include IT, facilities, reception, licensing, libraries, café, administration, sports and leisure with additional placements at Planet Organic, Veolia, GEM Building Services, Natural History Museum and Everyone Active and the Office of Nickie Aiken MP.
Mo Hakim is one young person who has benefited from the internship and is now working at Mencap, a charity which works with people who have a learning disability, as a Research and Impact Assistant.
He said he decided to complete the programme to help gain skills and experience, whilst also being able to meet new people and improve his social skills.
Mo said: “I also decided to do the Supported Internship Programme so I could get help to become more confident at working.”
He continued: “The Supported Internship has helped me get a job at Mencap. The job coaches have been very supportive and understanding, supporting me when I most needed it. I was also able to choose some good work placements for myself that I enjoyed.”
Arthur Cassagne is another person who is now in employment after completing the supported internship course.
Arthur has secured a paid job with GEM, a maintenance company, thanks to the programme and now works there part time.
He said: “I unload the vans and deliveries and I get parts ready for the next day for example, radiators. I also sweep the floors and the gutters. The best thing about working for GEM is I’ve got the best manager, he’s friendly and nice I work in a team and I get paid.”
Sarah Newman, Westminster City Council’s Executive Director for Children’s Services, said:
“We want to help as many of our young people into paid employment as we can and the supported internship programme has been an extremely important and valuable step in helping people with SEND achieve this. I’m thrilled to see how much Mo and Arthur, and many more of our young people who have completed the programme, are enjoying their roles in their new job.”
A Virtual Open Day will be held on 29th April at 11.00am - 12.30pm over Microsoft Teams. Applications will close 13th May. A Skills / Recruitment Day will take place late May and final group selected and notified in June.
To learn more about Supported Internships and to join the Virtual Open Day, please contact Rachel Edwards (Bi-borough SEND Local Offer and Employment Pathways Lead):
- telephone - 07739 315 424
- email - [email protected]