Supported internships demonstrate huge successes for Hereward College students

Over 50% of students at Hereward College in Coventry have secured paid employment this year as a direct result of their participation in the college’s supported internship programme.

Supported internships are a work based study programme aimed at young people (aged 16 to 24) who have an education, health and care plan, and need extra support to move into employment.

Hereward College is an FE college for young people with disabilities and additional needs, which provides its learners with a varied curriculum that focuses on skills for independent living and employment.

The college has been running the supported internship scheme since 2014 and has developed established and expanding programmes with a number of national and regional employers including Severn Trent, WM Housing, Arlington Automotive, Holiday Inn and Balfour Beatty.

Learners take part in the programme for 10 months with one of the college’s partner employers and spend up to 30 hours a week working in a range of different areas, gaining valuable experience with the support of an onsite Hereward Job Coach.  Interns also undertake an accredited Employability Skills qualification and take maths and English qualifications suitable to their level.

Hereward’s supported internships are available to young people both in the local area and nationally on a residential basis.

Since the programme began, Hereward College has seen a year on year increase in students doing a supported internship with 24 learners taking part in the programme in 2017, 34 learners in 2018 and a target of 50 learners doing placements by 2020. This year 55% of supported interns were offered a job directly with their employer as a result of their participation in the programme. The national average for people with learning disabilities in employment is 7%.

Hereward College’s ambition is to be recognised as the centre of excellence for disability employment and enterprise. This year it launched a new Employment Hub on campus and won regional SEND Careers Provision of the Year at the Careers & Enterprise Company awards.

Paul Cook, Principal at Hereward College said:

“The Supported Internship model has shown real results and continues to grow year on year, showing demonstrable benefits to both learners and business. We have some great employers who are as passionate and determined as we are, along with learners with ambition and the desire to work really hard.

“Statistics show that people with learning difficulties have a 7% likelihood of finding paid employment and not only does the supported internship programme go some way to increasing employment chances but also helps fill the skills gap in many industries.”

Harriet, ex-Hereward student and Holiday Inn Kenilworth employee said:

“I was diagnosed with autism at 15 and was very shy and introvert – unable to walk down corridors alone.  Since being a student at Hereward and taking part in the supported internship my confidence has grown enormously, and it has been a real journey for me.  I love my job as front of house receptionist at the Holiday Inn, the staff are so supportive and really accommodate my needs.

“The supported internship programme is a wonderful opportunity to prepare those who need additional support to experience real life work skills and help build confidence.”

For more information on Supported Internships at Hereward College email employability@hereward.ac.uk or call 024 7642 6175