We are very grateful to our funders, LandAid and SEGRO plc who have supported this employability training.
The REACH Supported Internship Programme
The REACH Supported Internship Programme (SIP) is a one-year preparation programme in Great Britain for students with learning disabilities. Learners must have an EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan), be aged between 16–24, and in their final year of education.
SIP works closely with Habitat for Humanity Great Britain on work-place skills which optimize the possibility of success in future paid employment. Learners are supported on site by a Job Coach who monitors their progress and development of practical tasks as well as softer skills such as communication, interaction, team work, time management, appropriate professional behavior.
How SIP Works
The SIP supports the learner’s development through regular 1-1 meetings, liaising with parents, and meeting with the local authority, parents, the team, social workers etc. to update the learners EHCP progress, using the collaborative short-term and long-term targets to ensure continued development. Towards the end of the internship the Job Coaches work with learners to prepare them for job applications. They work together to produce a CV, which includes all the workplace skills they have gained on placement. The Job Coach supports the application process and sign-posting to agencies. The Job Coach can even advocate for a practical interview so the learner can show their ability as opposed to having a formal interview which can lead to high anxiety and poor performance.
The Programme is preparing the learners for employment and adulthood, and HFHGB Homes have been able to provide a very high-quality training experience to support this in the 2022-23 academic year.
At the beginning of the programme, may of the young people arrived to the internship fairly shy and with low confidence. For many of the young people, this was not something that they had experienced before and their general experience outside of school was limited and employment prospects low.
“I really enjoyed working at Habitat. I have learnt lots of new skills and feel more confident when doing things, like painting and cutting.” – REACH Student
Since participating in the project, the learners have visibly grown in confidence during the year. Many of the Job Coaches shared that the demeanor, ability, and initiative-taking has increased exponentially, with 2 of the 5 learners having been offered employment opportunities prior to this academic year completing.
“This was my second year at Habitat and I really enjoyed being at the Gale Street build, and workshop. I got to do different things and learnt how to do new things. The staff were really nice and helpful, and helped me when I was finding stuff difficult.” – REACH Student
Following the placement, it was a real joy to have a graduation ceremony with the learners. Through this graduation, everyone had a chance to reflect with their Job Coaches on all that has been achieved this academic year. One Job Coach shared: “The experience that HFH offers our students is one of the best ones we have on the internship. It provides the learners with a practical experience of hands-on work, and no 2 days are ever the same, so no-one gets bored. Maths is embedded within all of the tasks and learners are actively encouraged to think and work independently to build on their skills and their confidence.”
When asked about the programme, the REACH Programme Manager, Andrea Cupper said, “I would like to add that working in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity has enabled our learners to gain the supported training required for them to develop the workplace skills and T-Shape skills to support their transition into adulthood and future paid employment. As you can see from our figures three learners have already gained employment and with the continued support from yourselves and your funding bodies, we hope to continue to provide this program moving forward to ensure that SEND learners continue to get the correct support for much needed construction training within the local area.”