Preparing for Adulthood
The Supported Internship Programme is a new study programme that takes place over one academic year and is suited to students wishing to enter employment rather than continue in education. At Ashley 6th Form, interns will spend three days per week in the workplace and two days in the 6th Form developing the skills and qualifications needed for work. Each intern will have the support of the Job Coach to act as the link between the workplace and 6th form. Internships are unpaid but they are all about working towards paid employment via on the job training.
HOW DO SUPPORTED INTERNSHIPS WORK?
The Supported Internship Programme is a partnership between Halton Council and Ashley High School. The programme runs for one year and is designed to give the intern the training, support and work skills they need to help them get a job. Most of the training is completed in the workplace where the employer provides the intern with valuable work experience and trains them to do a job role. Interns will spend three days each week on placement and two days at Ashley School 6th Form, where they will continue with their Maths and English and complete a qualification in Employabilty.
What the working day consists of will be agreed between the employer, Job Coach and Intern and will take into account the needs of the organisation and the strengths and interests of the Intern. The ultimate aim is to achieve paid employment or voluntary employment in their chosen vocational field. Crucial to the success of the programme is a multi-agency approach between the young person, family and any agencies working with the Intern. Both the Intern and the employer will be supported via the Job Coach and the Employability Tutor.
WHAT IS A VOCATIONAL PROFILE?
Vocational Profiles are completed for each Intern and focus on the Intern's preferences and any previous experiences of paid or voluntary work. The intern will be supported to highlight any strengths and interests they want to use in a job and any preferred working environments and tasks they wish to perform.
WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO THE INTERN?
Interns will be allocated a member of staff in the work place who will be the initial point of contact. They will help if the Intern needs any support and will work closely with the Job Coach and Employability Tutor to identify any areas for development. Where necessary, specific support strategies will be designed to combat any difficulties and help interns meet their job role. This member of staff will also focus upon positive achievements of Interns, whilst developing work skills, confidence and self-esteem.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A SUPPORTED INTERNSHIP?
The Intern develops confidence in their own abilities and increased positive health and wellbeing
The Intern develops new skills and gains experience to include on their CV
The Intern can demonstrate their value in the workplace
The possibility of paid employment
The Intern develops relationships and experiences positive social interaction
HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE?
Please contact Vicki Banks at Ashley High School for more information.
Information for Employers - Answering some Frequently Asked Questions about supported internships
What will it cost me to offer a supported internship work placement?
Extended work placements for Supported Internships are unpaid, because participating in an extended work placement is part of the young person's programme of study at their school or college. The primary goal of a placement is to help a young person with learning difficulties to develop the skills they need for paid employment. Funding for job coaches and reasonable adjustments will be arranged by the school or college.
Will the young person fit in to my workplace?
If you are thinking about hosting a placement, the Job Coach will work with you to understand the role you have available, to ensure the best job match between the intern and you.
The Job Coach may also suggest 'job carving', which means working with you to tailor the extended work placement to best meet your business needs, whilst utilising the strengths and abilities of the young person. This might mean that tasks carried out by other employees can be given to the Intern, freeing up resources for other staff. Employers who have offered Supported Internships have found that it decreases the workload of their staff and teams.
What happens if things go wrong?
Even though your local school or college and the Job Coach will make every effort to match you with the most suitable young person, sometimes things can go wrong . If the placement starts going wrong, be honest and act quickly. Contact the Job Coach and explain your concerns, so that any issues can hopefully be resolved quickly. It may be a skills gap, a difference in expectations between the Intern and employer, a behaviour concern or simply a misunderstanding by the young person or employer. Identifying the problem quickly is the best way to resolve it, thereby hopefully avoiding a possible breakdown of the placement. If it becomes clear that the work placement is no longer viable, the Job Coach will work with you to bring it to an end. Either the Job Coach or the school/college will discuss why things went wrong, and whether it's a good idea to consider placing another young person with you.
What do I, as an employer, need to do?
Getting the right young person into the right job role with the right employer is critical to the success of an individual Internship. The Job Coach will work with you to identify a job role that fulfils a real business need for your organisation, and ensure that someone is matched to the job role for the extended work placement. The role can develop over time as you get to know what the young person can do. You will need to provide effective line management and supervision of the Intern, as you would with other employees, although a lot of support will be provided by the Job Coach, especially at first.
What support will I receive during the internship?
The Job Coach will work with you to arrange the induction and settling in period, and provide as much support as is needed throughout this time. The Job Coach will also support you to make any reasonable adjustments that may be needed. These often cost nothing and can be of benefit to other employers as well. Where there is a cost, the job coach will apply for government funding to cover it. As the young person becomes more confident and able, the job coach will gradually withdraw their support, but you will still be able to contact them at any time if any issues arise.
What happens at the end of the internship?
The aim of Supported Internship is to prepare young people with learning difficulties for employment. As the Intern has been fulfilling a real business need in your organisation, you should consider whether you can take them on as a paid member of staff at the end of their Internship. This won't always be possible: you may not be in a position to recruit, or the Intern may not have met the required standards. You can still play an important part in helping an Intern achieve employment elsewhere, e.g. by providing a reference, recommending the intern to other employers, or giving honest feedback to the school, college or Job Coach about the skills and/or behaviours that the young person demonstrates.
What do our employers say?
“Our Intern is always keen and enthusiastic and willing to have a go at all tasks. It is great to see his confidence growing as he develops new skills”
Manager, Jellybeans Play Centre, Widnes
“Our Intern is always on time and she has impressed us with her accuracy. We have shown her how to weigh out ingredients and she can now do this independently. We are now supporting her to gain more confidence at dealing with the customers”
Manager, Noah’s Ark Pet Shop, Widnes