Supported Internships: An Unbridled Success
Achievements of young people completing their Supported Internship during a world pandemic is to be admired. To say they have demonstrated resilience, flexibility and determination is an understatement.
Enable work in partnership with Shrewsbury College Group, County Training (Hereford, Ludlow and North Shropshire College) and Bettws Lifehouse to support young people with EHCPs to complete the workplace element of their Supported Internship course. A Supported Internship is a yearlong course that gives young people an opportunity to take their first steps into the real world of employment, build skills in the workplace and helps equip them to progress in their chosen career.
During the academic year 2020- 2021 Enable worked with a total of 20 interns as they embarked on the somewhat tricky journey of workplaces closing, online learning, lockdowns, social distancing and risk assessments. As you may expect the outcomes for the individuals have been varied but there is still a lot to celebrate and be proud of.
We are proud to share that with some remote placements and creativity, 17 of the interns have taken part in a work placement. We worked with Interns to identify sectors that could still offer opportunities despite the situation. The young people attended successful placements within retail, animal sanctuaries, garages, fast food restaurants, administration and car rental companies.
Some placements have provided the full experience that is intended for anyone completing a Supported Internship programme, with 4 people progressing into a paid position so far. This is lower than the number of interns we would normally expect to move into employment at the end of their course, but considering the duration of the restrictions caused by COVID-19 it is a massive achievement for them all! The newly appointed employees have really demonstrated a willingness to adapt, embraced remote working and shown what great skills they have.
Some interns who were not able to have the full experience provided by a Supported Internship will return to college and work placements will continue into the new academic year. Others have progressed in other ways, including moving into supported employment and being supported to develop further life skills.
As well as bringing challenges, the restrictions related to the pandemic have resulted in some improvements that we will continue to offer. During lockdown learners were not able to attend placements, so alongside the remote learning provided by the education provider Enable provided online sessions. The Enable sessions looked at CV building, job searching skills, interview techniques and what to expect in the workplace. We found these sessions of great value and fun for both the learners and the Enable staff. The online learning provided an opportunity for Employment Officers to get to know the interns better and identify skills they hadn’t shared, which resulted in us being in a better position to ensure any placements provided the best ‘job match’ possible. Enable and the education providers we work in partnership with have agreed this will be provided to the new cohort of interns when they start their course and we help them to develop their vocational profile in September.
We wish all the interns well as they take their next steps towards a rewarding career that will provide independence, fulfilment and many health benefits.