‘Job means a lot’: The scheme helps school holiday students to find work
L.iam, 18, who has learning disabilities, was always told by family members that he would never get a job. It was heartbreaking to hear but, 95% of people with learning disabilities are unemployed, not an unreasonable guess. When he got a job planting trees for a conservation project, he was so happy that he broke down in tears.
Liam got her job thanks to an unusual training and employment project founded by an award-winning special educational needs and disabilities (PATHAN) school, Elmstad, Market Field, Essex. The scheme seeks to address the worrying employment prospects for school graduates. Autistic people and people with ADHD and learning disabilities struggle to find work across the UK, but especially in deprived rural areas such as East Essex.
For Liam, the job has boosted his self-esteem as well as his finances. “I like to be out, I like to work. Jobs mean a lot, ”he said. “I’m used to everyone else. I don’t want to work with other people because they don’t understand me.”
Liam spent his first pay packet buying Christmas presents for his family, and he plans to use the latter to take his girlfriend out for dinner. Although he was hit by a bitter Essex wind while planting a row of hawthorn trees on a cold February day, the pride of his work was visible.
Naomi Andrews, who runs the project on behalf of the school, works with local conservation agencies to locate and pay students, and provides additional support and training to employers to make sure they are not afraid to send people.
“Employers expect people with special needs to volunteer. But it is frustrating. Most of these guys never thought they would work, ”he said.
The results have been impressive. The team planted 60,800 trees last winter, mostly working with Big Green Internet, an organization that restores hazards to improve the local wildlife population. Students describe their transfers as a highlight of the week, a stimulus that has not caught the attention of the organization, which says that their perseverance and good humor are greater than contract employees.
The project is currently small, with seven students enrolled this year and 12 pencils for next year But the school is busy setting up a market field firm, which will be open to the public in August 2023. It will have a total of 70 students and school holiday staff, equipped with valuable horticulture and hospitality skills to enhance their employment prospects. Salary, and the goal is to become the first commercially self-sufficient sending employment project in a rural area. Growth is planned to continue in the coming years.
As part of the innovative model, the খরচ 1.5m cost for farm building, 2.5 hectares (six acres) of land and infrastructure is financed by developers who want to take advantage of the rapidly growing housing demand in the area. The system is mutually beneficial because in order to build new plots, developers need to demonstrate a positive impact on the local community under their Article 106 agreement.
Gary Smith, executive director of Hope Learning Community, which runs the Market Field School, sees the project as a grassroots effort to fill a policy gap in government over sending school holiday students to work.
In the absence of hard data on the employment destination of Send Pupils and how “ineffective” the existing few schemes are and after unsuccessful meetings with government officials, Smith realized that “nothing will happen unless we do it”.
Her determination is the result of seeing students improve at her school, then move into their bedrooms and spend years year after year, nearly nine out of 10 failing to find work due to stigma and a lack of awareness from employers about the skills they can bring. Joining the work of her school vacation members will also relieve family members of the responsibility of caring for them and reduce reliance on unemployment benefits.
“Their lives are shattered. I have seen so many lives that could have been different, “he said.
An official spokesman said the new investment in the National Disability Strategy and a supported internship program “improves outcomes for young people with special educational needs”, where the goal of a multibillion-pound plan for employment is to “help find, retain and advance more disabled job seekers”. To complete the work through expert programs and support from job trainers and disability employment advisors.
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