Inspire Education Group, consisting of Peterborough College and Stamford College, has collaborated with the NHS and Peterborough City Council to successfully implement a Local Supported Employment initiative. The scheme has been providing distinctive opportunities for young adults with learning difficulties to kickstart their careers.
Since 2022, a total of 10 students from Peterborough College and Stamford College have benefitted from the internships. This includes Jack Batty and Amelia Bollons, who have both gained permanent employment after completing the programme. Jack is now employed in the NWAFT Estates and Facilities Team, whilst Amelia is now working front-of-house at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough.
To celebrate the success of the scheme so far, a special event was held at Peterborough City Hospital, where interns were handed certificates for completing part of their training from Hannah Coffey, the Chief Executive of NWAFT.
The initiative, established last year by the government, focuses on aiding adults with learning disabilities, autism, or both in securing permanent paid employment through supported internship work.
In Peterborough, a three-year program was launched through collaboration among IEG, Peterborough City Council, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAFT), and Project Search.
The project entails selecting up to six young adults aged 18–24 from the colleges, who, following their selection at a Skills Assessment Day, undergo internships at NWAFT. These internships function as working interviews, allowing students to acquire the necessary skills for potential roles within the department by the end of their placements.
Cllr Saqib Farooq, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said, “We are extremely proud to support this thoroughly worthwhile scheme and I’m delighted to see that it is already achieving its aim by helping people find employment, who might otherwise find it difficult.
I would like to pass my congratulations to everyone involved in the scheme and look forward to seeing the programme continue to support adults with learning disabilities into employment and drive the quality within the sector.”
Each local authority area will support between 60 and 140 adults with learning disabilities, autism or both to move into employment and evidence from other supported employment programmes suggests that at least 30% of participants should start some form of work following involvement in the initiative.
The longer-term ambition is to provide further evidence to local authorities of the value of supported employment to help drive further investment and secure effective employment for more people with learning disabilities, autism or both.