A new life-changing supported internship programme for adults with learning disabilities and autism, has been unveiled with Newcastle City Learning, supported by Northumbria University.
Newcastle City Learning, run by the council, has teamed up with Northumbria University, Sodexo and the national charity DFN Project SEARCH to form a collaborative partnership to give young people with learning disabilities or autism vital work-based learning opportunities, to help them secure competitive paid work.
The pioneering programme involves total workplace immersion at its vey best, ”facilitating a seamless combination” of classroom instruction, careers advice, and hand-on skills training.
Coun Lesley Storey, Cabinet Member for a Growing City at the Council, said:
”It’s fantastic that we have been able to form this partnership to give more young people the opportunity to gain valuable work-based learning with the aim of securing paid employment. The project demonstrates our commitment to supporting all of the city’s young people ensuring they have access to the support they need to fulfil their potential.”
Through the partnership – the first of it kind in the North East – Northumbria will provide supported work placements across different business areas of the University as well as Sodexo-managed student accommodation, as part of the student’s full-time study programme, led by Newcastle City Learning.
The new initiative highlights the reality that only 5% of people with learning disabilities are in paid work across England.
Professor Andy Long, CEO of Northumbria University, said:
”Northumbria has a long history of successful partnership working in our region to boost social mobility. DFN Project Search provides Northumbria with a unique opportunity to make a difference to employability outcomes for young people in the North east who typically would not be reached through the higher education offer. I’m delighted that we are able to offer this opportunity, and I look forward to welcoming the students on campus and seeing them flourish.”
DFN SEARCH is a national transition to work programmes for students with learning disabilities or autism, or both. They work in partnership across the public, private and voluntary sectors to create supported work internships. The project works to build a more ”inclusive society” by helping to create much improved career opportunities for those with learning disabilities and autism.
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