Major employers help young people with SEND move into work

Major employers will be helping to raise the aspirations of young people in North Yorkshire with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at a series of careers events around the county.

Kallum Takacs who has gained gardening work after a supported internship

The events have been organised by North Yorkshire County Council’s Inclusion Team in response to calls from the county’s Flying High group, which represents young people with SEND, for more help in finding out about employment opportunities.

Employers taking part in the events include Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Morrisons, Greggs, Flamingoland theme park, the FT Group, which includes construction companies Walter Thompson and Willoughbys, the NHS and the County Council’s recruitment teams. In addition, there will be support organisations that can offer information and advice.

Young people can book sessions in advance with employers to learn about what employers there are in the area, how employers recruit, what they look for in staff and how they can support young people with SEND within the workplace. Opportunities include one-year supported internships with the possibility of moving into employment.

Chelsea Tiley, the chair of Flying High, who is currently at college, said: “We wanted more training in employability skills to get people into work, as we didn’t think there was enough of that. I will be going along to one of the events to see what’s on offer.”

County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “We’ve listened to what young people with special educational needs have told us and have designed these events to meet their requirements and enable them to raise their aspirations.

“The events will be a great opportunity to talk to major companies about what they can offer, so I urge young people to take advantage of the opportunity. Come along and find out how you might be able to move into work.

“We’re grateful to the businesses taking part, but are also keen to hear from other employers, particularly smaller businesses, around the county that would be interested in providing opportunities.

“Employment is a wonderful way to help young people with SEND to begin to realise their potential and just how much they may be able to achieve, and there are wider benefits that come from the expanded social network that having work colleagues can bring.”

Flying High with Your Future SEND careers and employment events will take place at:

  • Scarborough TEC on 17 September
  • Craven College on 19 September
  • Northallerton School and Sixth Form on 24 September
  • Selby College on 1 October
  • Adult Learning and Skills Service, 80 High Street, Starbeck, Harrogate, on 3 October

Each event will run from 5pm to 8pm.

The events are open to any young person with SEND from Year 7, the first year of secondary school, onwards. Book a space. For more information, email rebecca.ward@northyorks.gov.uk.

One young person who has found work after a supported internship is Kallum Takacs. Kallum, 21, undertook the internship through the Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre (HS4LC), which supports people living with learning disabilities. He worked on maths and English qualifications, as well as learning other skills for employment, and spent time doing work experience as a gardener at Rudding Park in Harrogate.

With that behind him, Kallum managed to find employment with local company SM Gardening Ltd.

“Gardening is what I was hoping to do,” said Kallum, “because I like to be outside. I have managed to gain that experience and get a job out of it. I am working on a lot of private gardens all over the area, cutting grass and weeding and whatever people need doing. I really enjoy the grass-cutting, strimming and leaf-blowing and the general maintenance.”

This story was published 6 September 2019