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SEND Students at Reading College Secure Paid Employment Due to Supported Internship Programme

Reading College is delighted to announce that a group of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have secured paid employment.  

All of these students have recently completed the Supported Internship programme, Route to Recruit, at the college on King’s Road. 

Route to Recruit is a unique programme which supports people with learning disabilities and additional needs, through an innovative workforce and career development model that benefits the individual, workplace and community. It is available as a progression route to students who are in their last year of education and who have expressed a desire to work. 

Students spend one day at college learning about work-based topics and up to four-days-a-week in a supported internship at a company to gain valuable work experience to help them progress into paid employment. The course usually lasts for one academic year.

Job coaching support is provided to the students throughout the year of the internship. When students move into paid employment, job coaches will continue to support the students to get them up to speed. They might change job coach to ensure that the support is sustained.   

Tyrik Thompson has done three supported internship placements. His first internship was with Wokingham Borough Council, in their IT team for four months. He then did a placement with GWR in Swindon through The Prince’s Trust, which involved customer service and gate line work. His final placement was based in a branch of Marks and Spencer at Royal Berkshire Hospital. 

He said: “The best internship was with GWR because I received some training and I really enjoyed travelling on the trains. I would love to work for a train company in the future.” 

“Doing supported internships has helped me by building my confidence, applying for jobs and going for interviews.”

Tyrik has now secured a job as a Warehouse Operative at the uniform shop, Stevensons.  

He said: “Doing my internship helped me to get my job at Stevensons because I was able to talk about my experience when I worked at Marks and Spencer where I had to carry some stock and products.

“I can take my experience that I’ve got from there and my customer service experience, medical knowledge and all the stuff that I learnt from my work experience with Marks and Spencer and GWR and put them together to get things done in my job at Stevensons.” 

Lydia Mapley has done two supported internship placements, her most recent one has been an Administrative and Receptionist internship at Royal Berkshire Hospital, where she spent two-days-a-week with Physiotherapy and one-day-a-week with Patient Therapies. 

She said: “I loved meeting all the different patients and welcoming them into the department and checking them in. On Fridays especially, it’s normally the same patients all the time so it’s very nice with those regular patients to get to know them.

“My daily duties included welcoming patients, scanning patients’ details onto patient records, checking in patients, doing referrals and letters, data entry, excel work.  

“With the admin, I do a lot of paperwork so writing addresses on letters and writing emails that are posted to patients and GPs, referrals, lots of scanning of paperwork onto the computer.  

 “There’s really nice team of staff there as well and we always chat about different topics.” 

Lydia has now been offered and accepted a part-time administrative and receptionist job in the Physiotherapy and Patient Therapies department at Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Kim Mead, Intensive Support Advisor at Activate Learning, said: “We are really pleased for all five of our students who have secured employment. This is a great success! 

“We are also proud of our students who have completed their supported internships and are now pursuing employment opportunities. We wish them all the best for the future.”

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