Somerset Supported Employment
Imagine the Possibilities if you had the Opportunities
Our Goals – Our goals are set to bridge the gap between students and employers, making life better and easier for all parties. Employers invested in the Disability Confident Scheme help disabled people into work.
Employers who already use this scheme take a positive approach to disability and offer interviews to all disabled applicants who meet the minimum job criteria.
- Better staff reliability
- Reduced sickness rates
- Lower staff turnover
- Increased customer and staff loyalty
- Improved morale at work
Our Story – For the Love of Employment – Somerset Supported Employment was established in 2019 to facilitate the development of Supported Employment throughout Somerset. Supported Employment assists people with disability or disadvantage to access employment opportunities of their own choice and to become economically independent and socially active.
Our Students – Crafted with Joy – We would love to see everyone who completes a supported employment scheme equipped with skills and confidence and feeling job-ready. Our students are aged between 16-25 and some are on an Education, Health & Care Plan which outlines any special educational need that they may have. Success to us is an individual moving into paid employment and thriving with their newfound skills.
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.
We encourage employers to keep an open mind, as everyone is different. However, the type of roles that would generally suit most people with a learning disability include those that:
- Require practical skills that can be learnt through practice and repetition
- Do not require a high-level qualification
- Do not require a driving license
- Have fixed elements and only include minimal multitasking
- Involve working within a team where tasks can be shared and support offered
- Include options to do specific parts of a job description but not all of it (called job-carving)
The Education, Health & Care Plan or EHCP is a legal binding document which sets out the education, health and social care needs a child or young person has and the support that is necessary to cater for those needs.
All employees, whether or not they are disabled, have changes in their performance levels. These could be problems with attendance, behaviour or conduct. Before starting action to deal with poor performance, you must make reasonable adjustments to allow a disabled employee to improve their performance.
Yes, employers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure workers with disabilities or physical or mental health conditions aren’t substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs. These are changes such as visual fire alarms, wheelchair ramps and changing their equipment, for instance providing a special keyboard if they have arthritis.
There is a legal requirement for employers to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace when employing somebody with a learning disability. But these do not always cost money, for example, when they are provided by external supported employment services.
It is important to weigh up the economic benefits and positive impact on your workplace against these costs, which include long-term savings, employee loyalty and improved staff morale.
And more – research has shown that:
- 55% of 128 employers reported just a one-time cost for making reasonable adjustments
- 65% of employers disagreed that considerable expense was necessary to accommodate workers with disabilities
- 65% of 2.024 employers rated adjustments to be cost-neutral
- On average, adjustment costs are only £75.00
With the right support, people with a learning disability can make fantastic, dedicated, hardworking employees and add real value to your organisation in a number of ways – but that starts with putting the right reasonable adjustments in place. These commonly include things like:
- Task-based adjustments and job carving
- Changes to work processes and policies
- Flexible hours and supervision
- In-work support / job coach (not additional support costs to the employer)
- Providing alternatives to online-only application processes
- Offering work trials as an alternative to a formal interview.
Is there funding available?
Access to Work funding usually provides a grant to pay for the cost of the support. For example, they can provide funds towards special aids and equipment, adaptions to equipment, travel to and from work, communication support at interview and a wide variety of support workers.
Access to Work also has a mental health support service.
Access to Work is a discretionary Government scheme that pays a grant to employers which can go towards extra employment costs that result from a person’s disability. This can offset the cost of putting in place reasonable adjustments including additional equipment or adaptations that might be required – one less cost to worry about!!
‘Did you know that 1 in 50 people in the UK have a learning disability, but just 6% are in paid employment?’ – The Health and Social Care Information Centre.
What is Supported Employment?
There are there are 3 Supported Employment programmes, the Supported Internship, the Supported Traineeship and the Supported Apprenticeship.
Supported Internships are for young people aged 16-24 who have an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP).
The programme can be tailored to the unique needs and career aspirations of the individual, and usually:
- Is a full-time study programme
- Offers a long-term work experience placement
- Enables each individual to learn the skills they need for work through practical on-the-job learning, supported by a job coach
- Is very flexible and can be delivered as an accredited or non-accredited provision.
What’s usually included:
- Assessment of prior learning and educational attainment
- Vocational profiling – information about an individual’s abilities and interests
- Enrolment and induction
- Pre-placement preparation
- Matching an employer according to skills, development needs and choice
- Work experience – 1 to 3 placements usually depending on the person and the employer
- Support provided throughout the placement by a job coach
- Accredited or non-accredited work-related and personal development learning, including English and maths
- Observation and records of progress and achievement
- Non-accredited personal and social development, for example, travel training, communication skills, social skills for the workplace, money management and timekeeping skills as well as plans to move onto other pathways to work
- Sustainability and tracking – working with the employer and individual to make sure that the placement is a success.
Supported Traineeship – how it works:
A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience designed for young people who are motivated to work, but may currently lack the skills, experience and behaviours sought by employers.
A Traineeship includes:
- A work experience placement
- Work preparation training
- Support with the development of English and maths skills.
Work experience within a Traineeship should be a high-quality placement that is tailored to the individual needs of the learners, lasting at least 100 hours but not exceeding 240 hours. Your training provider will support both you and the trainee to ensure this runs smoothly. This will include the option of a job coach at no cost to you. They work alongside the trainee to help them learn new skills at a suitable pace so there is no additional impact on your time. English and maths support will reflect the requirements of the job whilst enabling the trainee to move towards qualifications if appropriate. The training provider will help you to develop the traineeship programme.
How long? A Traineeship can last between six weeks and six months.
What does it cost? Not a penny. Supported Traineeships are fully funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pay for the job coach through the individual’s Access to Work grant. Some employers like to pay for travel and /or lunch expenses for the trainee, but this is optional.