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Supported Internships – ‘Route to Recruit’
“Preparing young adults to have sustainable and progressive careers in the local labour market and to become active citizens in an ever-changing world”
Brookfields School has several years’ experience delivering successful Supported Internships for young people with learning difficulties and additional needs as they transition from education into the world of work. Over the last 9 years, Brookfields School have supported 58 young people into the world of work by working collaboratively with businesses, young people and their families.
As part of Brookfields School’s commitment to supporting young people into employment, our Route to Recruit supported internship programme is an integral part of our award winning ‘Pathway to Employment’
Route to Recruit is a supported internship programme that helps young people with a learning difficulty secure and keep full time, paid permanent jobs.
Route to Recruit is a collaboration between Brookfields School and Reading College as the education providers, and Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust as business lead, Ways into Work as Supported Employment provider and Talentino!, a niche career development organisation.
This partnership brings together the expertise of employers, education providers and a supported employment provider, along with other key stakeholders from the local community.
What is Route to Recruit?
Route to Recruit is an employment-focussed education programme, designed to give students with learning difficulties and additional needs the opportunity to develop which will support their transition into the world of work. The programme is unique in that we work in partnership with host employers from a business led approach focusing on developing a skilled work force for them.
We address businesses needs through an asset-based approach, developing students to have competitive skills, knowledge and attributes that are relevant to the local labour market. We look to champion ambition and understand that a supported internship is just the start of a young adult’s career in the workplace and that career development and progression is something for everyone to aspire.
Alongside our focus on employment, Route to Recruit recognises that the acquisition and successful application of daily living and social skills are equally important, which is why we offer a comprehensive programme to develop these key elements of autonomous citizenship.
Research and our experience of running successful Supported Internships shows that through the total emersion in the work place, the students on the programme develop effective work based skills, attitudes and knowledge. It is available to students from Brookfields School and Reading College who have expressed a commitment to enter the world of work in the last year of education.
How does Route to Recruit work?
Route to Recruit is designed to give students the opportunity to learn more about the world of work, develop employability skills and to apply skills in a real life work placement. One of the aims is to develop the students to help them make the most of future work opportunities, either with their host employer or in the open job market.
The supported internship will allow a significant amount of time to be dedicated to the acquisition of work based skills through carefully selected work placements. Placements will be tailored to a student’s strengths and interests as identified through a process of vocational profiling and will provide opportunity to strengthen identified areas for development. These placements will work towards the expectation of the young adult becoming able to complete tasks to the same standard as the business’s own employees and where appropriate conforming to the same working practices and working hours as the placement business.
Caring for a home environment is an important life skill regardless of whether this is in the family home, independent living or a shared or supported living environment. Our programme of home management will be delivered at our bespoke Life Skills Centre and will give the students a chance to practice and consolidate domestic tasks including cleaning, cooking and shopping in an authentic setting.
Appropriate social skills are an important part of sustaining employment but also for becoming active in the wider community. Sessions will be taught as stand-alone sessions as well as through cross-curricular activities such as social event planning. Students will be involved in planning activities such as going to the cinema with friends, or preparing a meal for others.
Students will have many opportunities through their work placements and through life skills activities to develop their communication skills. Using a coaching approach we will support student’s ability to self-advocate.
We recognise that achieving the aspirations of employment and managing an active social life will not be possible without being able to get from A to B, which is why our Job Coaches will be able to provide advice and support on travel training as appropriate to meet the student’s individual needs.
Financial literacy will be worked on in specific enterprise challenges and through stand-alone lessons, building on the students’ numeracy skills and promoting the generalisation of these to every day functional uses such as budgeting, savings and pensions. These sessions will be taught commensurate to the individual student’s learning level.
Increasingly businesses are moving towards e-learning platforms to provide their mandatory training. Over the course of the year, the students will have opportunities to practice completing e-learning modules in areas such as manual handling, health and safety and fire awareness. A Tutor or Job Coach will be available to support students comprehension where required.
For students to stand out from a field of applicants and to enhance their employment prospects, a personalised skills portfolio will be encouraged to be developed. Personalised programmes may include certification in area such as First Aid or Food Hygiene.
Resilience to the pressures of work and life are developed through job coaching and through a programme of positive psychology delivered by external providers. These sessions are aimed at dealing with anxiety and other potential challenges to good mental health, through getting students to understand their strengths and reflect on their positive experiences rather than dwelling on negative thoughts.
Family involvement is key to the success of the young people gaining paid employment at the end of the programme. We offer very comprehensive and detailed Family Information through formal meetings as well as meetings focusing on the young person’s progress through the programme and planning for employment.
To learn more about Route to Recruit, please contact Maurice George (Assistant Head Teacher) on 0118 942 1382 or by email at [email protected]