Bridge College in Manchester extends its Supported Internship Programme
The Together Trust’s Bridge College has extended its Supported Internship Programme and opened applications for places for the next intake in the autumn. The programme is open to 16 to 24 year olds with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) who are interested in getting into employment.
Jeremey Swinn, Assistant Principal at the Openshaw based Bridge College said: “We’ve been trialling the programme for the past 12 months here at Bridge College. Our first intake has done really well in their placements and they’re all working on completing National Open College Network (NOCN) accreditation.
“The interns have developed their practical workplace skills and have built working relationships with new people along the way. The programme has also enabled them to develop a new sense of independence, through learning how to travel to work, allowing each of them to gain in confidence.
“All of this means they now have many more opportunities to gain sustainable paid employment than they had 12 months ago, and the success of the first year has led to us decide to extend the programme for another year.
“The programme lasts 12 months and applicants don’t have to be students at Bridge College. What we’re looking for are young people who have a real passion for learning new skills, and who are looking to begin their working lives but need a little extra help to do so.
“We work with each young person to create an individual learning plan, developed to suit their needs, experiences and ambitions. Unlike many other supported internship models, we work with a wide range of organisations, across Greater Manchester, to accommodate placements for just two or three interns at a time.
“This helps us to offer truly bespoke work placements that reflect our student’s interests and abilities. We also give careful consideration to placing them close to where they live, which gives them a greater chance of both securing and keeping a job when they’ve completed the course.
“The college’s extensive therapeutic services help with overcoming barriers to work, supporting interns’ access and progress in the workplace. The therapy team work closely with the work placement providers to ensure that both the work environment and the tasks performed are suitable for each individual intern. From this process a genuine job role is created, and one which has real value for both the intern and the provider.
“Our therapy team consists of speech and language, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, positive behaviour support, assistive technology and nursing. This is another key asset in our programme and these intensive and early interventions are crucial in removing barriers to work for people with learning disabilities.”
Lisa Duncalf, Principal of Bridge College, said: “Supported Internships provide a fantastic opportunity for young people with learning disabilities to acquire real life working experiences, in a supportive environment, which results in employment or sustainable voluntary placements. We are excited to offer this opportunity and to work with employers and students in making a difference.”
Bridge College offers specialist education for students aged 16 to 25 with learning difficulties, disabilities, complex health needs and autism. The college, which is located in Openshaw, Manchester, provides personalised support, tailored learning and hands-on life skills to give young people the confidence to exceed their aspirations.