CfESEND blog: supported internships and leadership discussions with City College Norwich

Blog by Elaine Dale, Director of SEND at City College Norwich, for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.

It’s been a very busy summer for all of us and it’s been great to see so many of you engaging with the Centres for Excellence in SEND (CfESEND) through webinar activities.

In a recent webinar we have been sharing our effective practice model on Supported Internships (SI) and the interest in this area has been vast from the FE sector. This is positive as we know the Department for Education (DfE) is keen to ensure our learners with SEND find sustainable employment. You have shown much interest in developing or starting a SI as part of your pathway to employment plan but if you haven’t had a chance to join the webinar you will be able to view this on the CfESEND site.

For now, here is some recent feedback:

  • ‘Thank you, this has been so insightful and plenty to feedback to management’
  • ‘Thank you this was extremely useful- I am a tutor on a SI really like the idea of delivery within the workplace’
  • ‘Really enjoyed that, I can’t wait to get started.’
  • ‘Thank you really useful. I like your tracking and feedback forms’
  • ‘‘Thank you so much really enjoyed that!’

Interview with Sarah Hume, SEND Supported Internship lead, Portsmouth College

How did you find out about the CfESEND?
A member of staff from another college.

What have you accessed through CfESEND?
I have attended many webinars, received excellent resources and personalised one-to-one support through the SEND expert leadership discussion.

I have found the webinars extremely useful and have attended: The business case for employers, equality, diversity and inclusion; What we’ve learnt so far as Centres for Excellence in SEND, reflections and new ideas; Supported Internships, working with employers and the community and the discussion on funding.

I have also accessed many resources including the Inclusive staff toolkit and Inclusive Employer Toolkit.

What have you done as a result or what are you planning to do as a result?
As a college, we are in the early stages of our supported internship programme. Attending the webinars has provided me with the tools, knowledge and confidence needed to create a successful supported internship programme within our organisation.

In addition, I have also recently received invaluable one-to-one support through the SEND expert leadership discussion. Through this, I was given excellent advice and support on how to confidently move forward and set out a plan for the future. As a result, I aim to create a model plan which will include topics such as where I am now, what my current challenges are and how to overcome those challenges.

What’s the impact or planned impact?
It has provided me with valuable insight into what makes a successful supported internship programme.

Receiving such valuable information will have a beneficial impact on how we run the supported internship programme through the college. This will then have a positive impact on the learner’s journey and experience, which is most important. It will also enable us to build good relationships with employers through the use of the toolkits and webinars provided by CfESEND.

What else can the ETF do for you and your college/sector?
On-going support in relation to supported internships and continuation of webinars and sharing of resources.

What would you say to the FE sector who are yet to engage with the Centre for Excellence in SEND?
The knowledge you can access through the Centres is invaluable. There are many opportunities available. You can liaise, communicate and share best practice with other organisations within the FE sector. The offer unites organisations and enables us to work together to create invaluable education within the SEND sector.

Final thoughts and comments
I would like to thank you for all the opportunities you have provided me with so far. The webinars have been informative and having the opportunity to gain direct access to members of staff working within CfESEND has been invaluable.

Thank you to Sarah for the interview. It’s great to hear about your journey and it’s a pleasure working with you through 1:1 leadership discussions. We are always here to help. If anyone one else would like to take advantage of our leadership 1:1 discussion tailored to meet your needs, please do not hesitate to get in touch

Please also keep a watchful eye on the SEND site for resources, webinars and updates.

I look forward to seeing in one of our upcoming webinars but for now, take care and see you soon.

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