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ECC: Internship for young people with learning disabilities

Category: Accessibility & Inclusion

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 Opening routes to recruitment: Internship for young people with learning disabilities

#employment for everyone

Essex County Council are breaking new ground in thinking about the accessibility and inclusivity of the organisation. We understand that disability inclusion cannot manifest itself in policies, employee training or network groups alone-—that to make true progress, we sometimes need to take a more holistic approach in how we support people in the workplace.

So, two months ago Goldlay Square was launched; a 2-year supported Internship in which a group of young people with learning disabilities have been given meaningful employment as well as the support to live independent of social care. This scheme draws on evidence that for some people to achieve sustainable employment, both learning from employment and Social Learning are important.

Partnering with Chelmsford College, Employment Learning is delivered through a supported internship where young people learn the skills for the job within a work setting, in addition to being supported by job coaches and a tutor from the college.  

In recognition of the dual importance of Social Learning we have secured 8 apartments for the interns and an additional apartment for an onsite carer.  The apartments have a communal area where interns can socialise as well as empower one another to become more independent and learn to take positive risks in a safe environment where they will develop and understand their own strengths. 

We anticipate that this truly holistic approach to employment, which takes account of an interns social, physical and psychological needs, will result in those individuals leading a more independent lifestyle with the added experience of employment and the absolute best opportunity for future paid employment.

Not only is this a great opportunity for the young people involved but it is also a fantastic opportunity for us as employers to gain invaluable insight into how we can better serve young people with learning disabilities.  The experience will also help us think of ways to roll out future schemes on a larger scale, provide our employees with the opportunity to become a learning mentor, and for our staff and volunteers to gain invaluable line management experience.

Our goal is for Essex to stay ahead of the curve. Goldlay Square provides an excellent example of what forward-thinking work schemes should look like and carving the way for the future.

The scheme was recognised and shortlisted in the Inside Housing Development Awards 2018 for the ‘Best development (under 7 units) Award’. 

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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