From education to employment

Supported Internships Transform the Lives of SEND Students

Milton Keynes College is working with students with disabilities, including autism, ADHD, cerebal palsy, global delay and moderate learning difficulties, to help them obtain and remain in employment.

The Supported Internships programme, which was set up by the Department of Education and first trialled at Milton Keynes College in 2015/16, is expected to obtain a 100% success rate this year, with many of the college’s 2016/17 learners gaining permanent employment, or voluntary jobs and skills progression that could lead to their future careers.

Big brands, including Tesco, Bosch, Holiday Inn and Currys PC World are among those supporting Milton Keynes College to create life-changing opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Pippa Bruckland, Personal Tutor and Lead Job Coach for Supported Internships at the College, explains: “So far this year we have placed four of our students in permanent employment and are expecting the remaining contracts to be signed any day now. We have been overwhelmed by the success of the programme and have had fantastic feedback from learners and employers alike.”

One student, called Michael, has just been offered permanent employment with Holiday Inn Milton Keynes.  The well-known hotel brand is delighted and has requested more Supported Interns for September.

Darren Hayward, General Manager of Holiday Inn Milton Keynes says: “We are delighted to be associated with MK College and the Supported Internships programme.  Finding team members who have a passion for what they do can be a challenge and the Supported Internships, through the guidance of Pippa Bruckland, has introduced us to young adults who have the passion and drive but simply need a leg up at the start. 

“We are very excited as a hotel, a management company and an industry about the potential the Supported Internships brings to us for employing team members with a natural passion and enthusiasm for hospitality. The dedication and commitment from professional Personal Tutors like Pippa offers the students the assistance needed to get it right at the start of the employment process and cross the hurdles that may otherwise prevent success. Well done to all involved in this initiative.  We are delighted.”

Supported Internships essentially offer a stepping stone, with a safety net, to a young person’s future, while at the same time educating and familiarising employers with the benefits of employing people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

“The College is working closely with employers to support future generations of SEND students into work, and close the gap between disabled and non-disabled people in permanent employment. With positive results for the programme so far, I hope that more employers will embrace the Supported Internships scheme, so that more SEND children and their parents/carers can rely on a system that will provide increased opportunities to a fulfilling future career,” concludes Pippa.

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