Inclusive Apprenticeships launch event is a great success
"We are certainly going to look at how we can support this and really hope other businesses do too - why wouldn't you want a workforce which is so dedicated and keen to learn?"
Warwickshire County Council's Inclusive Apprenticeships programme was launched at an online event which attracted more than 40 delegates from different sectors.
At a time when many businesses are affected by serious skills shortages, the Inclusive Apprenticeship programme is providing an opportunity for employers to recruit talented young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
To find out how recruiting a young person with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), could benefit your business and how you can get involved, take a look at a recording of a session held for local employers earlier this month.
This online launch drew more than 40 people from a variety of sectors, all keen to explore how they could consider shaping suitable apprenticeship roles in their business, for young people with SEND. Many mentioned in the chat section of the webinar, how they were blown away by the testimony of Taurai, a young man with SEND, who spoke so openly and bravely about his journey.
Mark Maffey, Business Development Manager at Hereward College for young people with SEND said: “This event was hugely informative and ambitious. Many of our students are looking for employment and training opportunities after lockdown, so the timing of the Inclusive Apprenticeships launch was ideal.
"The input from such an inspiring group of experts will help us to identify vacancies and map a clear progression route for our Warwickshire learners.”
Among those listening to that input was Karl Babington, managing director of Auto Craft Engineering (UK) Ltd.
He said: "My business, and the manufacturing sector broadly, relies on apprentices coming through local courses and it's been a great way over the years to recruit new talent as we have grown. Inclusive Apprenticeships was a completely new concept to us, so we joined the WCC event out of pure curiosity.
"We were really surprised to hear so many young people with special needs and disabilities are being overlooked by businesses when recruiting. During the event we were blown away to hear some of the challenges that Taurai faced and the sheer determination he had to make something of himself and ensure any business could see what strengths he had to offer.
"It was good to hear of the everything available to businesses, both financial and in terms of partnership support. We are certainly going to look at how we can support this and really hope other businesses do too - why wouldn't you want a workforce which is so dedicated and keen to learn?"
The Inclusive Apprenticeship programme is a pilot scheme, initially supporting cohorts of young people into customer service apprenticeship roles, but with the range of roles being broadened in the coming months.
Employers are being asked to consider how a talented young person with SEND could enhance their business.
The County Council is working with MENCAP and DFN Project Search - a transition-to-work programme, committed to transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism.
MENCAP has a dedicated employer engagement team to assist employers with any queries they may have around taking on young people with SEND. The programme also offers a dedicated job coach to work alongside each apprentice, supporting them until they are established in their role, and are confident to work independently.
The Inclusive Apprenticeships scheme adds to the work already ongoing locally to support young people with SEND. In 2019, the Supportive Employer forum was created by Warwickshire County Council and a range of partners to provide internships and work experience with businesses for learners at Warwickshire’s special schools and colleges.
Warwickshire County Council assistant director for communities Dave Ayton-Hill said: "We are delighted with the response from local businesses to our webinar, but we hope more employers will think about how a talented young person with SEND could benefit their company.
"At a time when businesses in a number of sectors are affected by serious skills shortages, the Inclusive Apprenticeship programme is a great opportunity for them to recruit young people with the potential and passion to learn.”
To find out more, please contact the Warwickshire Skills Hub Team: firstname.lastname@example.org