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College ROSE programme leads the way

ROSE team meets minister Sarah Teather to discuss internship trial

Havering College’s innovative ROSE team  met the Children’s and Families Minister Sarah Teather when she visited the college to announce the nationwide roll out of a supported internship programme similar to the ROSE (Realistic Opportunities for Supported Employment) model.
The Government scheme will provide support into employment for thousands of young people with learning difficulties from across the UK.

The Minister who is MP for Brent Central, met with ROSE staff, employers and young people participating in the ROSE and Foundation Skills programmes at the college’s Quarles Campus to discuss supported employment.

Job coaches and employer support at a corporate level were identified as vital to making the programme successful nationwide.

Thousands of young people with special education needs are to get intensive support into long term paid work, thanks to the new Government programme.

Sarah Teather visit

From this autumn supported internships are being trialled at 15 colleges around England for young people aged between 16 and 25 years who have complex learning difficulties or disabilities. The trials will test a study programme for supported internships that could be adopted by all further education colleges from September 2013.

The supported internships trial, backed by £3 million from the Department for Education, will provide a structured learning programme at an employer - such as a restaurant, library or clothes retailer - which is tailored to the individual needs of the young person. It will equip them with the skills they need for the job, backed by expert job coaches to support interns and employers, and give them a chance to study for relevant qualifications. The programme gives them the platform to break down negative attitudes and show employers what they can do.

Giving these young people experience of work allows the young adults to boost their confidence and empowers them to become more independent.

Sarah Teather, Children’s and Families Minister, said: “This is about helping young people with complex needs learn the skills they need for the workplace within a real job situation.

“We have to be more ambitious and tap into huge potential in people with learning needs. We can’t leave the most vulnerable on the scrapheap, without a way of getting a job and being able to live as independently as they can.

“With appropriate mentoring, even young people with complex needs can shine in a successful business.”

The Minister saw how this works in practice at the  ROSE programme at Havering College which has operated a supported employment project for young adults with special educational needs for several years.

ROSE programme joint manager Jenny Carr said: “We are passionate about the work that we do because we see how life changing this is for our clients who want the same opportunity as others to have jobs and develop their own independence. The benefits to businesses are also immense as the employers we already work with will happily testify.”

London Borough of Havering faciltities manager Brian Mott said: "An unexpected benefit of employing people with learning disabilities has been the attitude they bring to the workplace. Most of us can be a bit jaded with work but they’re a breath of fresh air and it impacts on others.

“Every person you employ has their own idiosyncrasies and if you don’t prejudge people with learning disabilities then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

The supported internships trial is part of the biggest reform of special education needs policy in 30 years. The Special Educational Needs Green Paper Next Steps details how the Government supports young people who lose support when they leave school.

Special Educational Needs Statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments will, from 2014, be replaced with a single assessment which cuts red tape and helps to provide a continuous plan to support teenagers with special educational needs as they make the transition into adulthood.

Check here for further information about The Rose Programme.