Durham and Tees Valley Jobcentre Plus. Support for Schools Team
When the team first started working with Special schools they were warmly welcomed, since the schools recognised that their preparing for adulthood work offered little preparation for employment. The Health and Work agenda and the new Careers Strategy has changed the thinking on this. The expectation is now that with support the vast majority of people are capable of some form of meaningful employment and should be assisted to do so. Working with Special Schools throughout the district the team have introduced over 20 employers to Special Schools which has led to more informed students, employer site visits, work placements and even job offers. They have introduced a similar number of providers who have offered a range of activities and opportunities ranging from enterprise and social action activities to team building. They have also used their creativity to design and deliver a wide range of bespoke employability sessions including specialist autism aware symbols to exemplify points.
They have also supported enterprise activities and prepared participants for work experience.The team have helped coordinate Work Skills Days where a number of local employers and providers ran sessions to give learners a taste of different work sectors. These were very well received by learners and parents and allowed the employers to see just how employable this group of learners are. All employers left with smiles on their faces and have maintained contact with the schools.
The team’s work with Special Schools has been recognised as having a big impact, to the point that they have been invited to be part of two local SEND Strategy Groups. They have used their Labour Market Expertise and experience of working in the schools to contribute to and undertake activities on local action plans.