May 2017

More young adults with SEN finding work with help from UCB

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From retail to transportation, more young adults with special educational needs and learning disabilities are finding work thanks to a partnership between a Birmingham school and UCB.

In May alone, Wilson Stuart school in Erdington secured paid employment for five 19-25 year olds with support from the University – a year since a pioneering vocational programme jointly developed by the institutions was awarded Independent Specialist Provision status (ISP).

The thriving partnership has also led to a rise in supported internships and apprenticeships.

The University and Wilson Stuart, an Ofsted outstanding school whose students – aged between two and 25 - are all in the high needs category and have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, started working together in 2013, providing specialist individual programmes to help young adults find employment and promote independence and confidence.

The LIVE @ the Hive programme paved the way for the Wilson Stuart University College Birmingham Partnership Trust, officially launched in 2016 to build on the alliance’s success.

Steve Hughes, Wilson Stuart head teacher, said: “Both our school and UCB have a history of providing outstanding education and training and our project continues to grow and develop through vocational programmes which are often at a cost of 50% below other ISPs in the city. 

“We are getting very high success rates in establishing a route for our vocational students, from supported internships into apprenticeships, then into paid employment.” 

Alex Lofthouse, UCB Pro-Vice-Chancellor, said the success of the programme was fantastic.  

“Between UCB and Wilson Stuart, we have worked hard to create a programme of study that provides expert academic and vocational tuition, along with advice, guidance and support that is necessary to facilitate the transition into employment and independent living,” she said. “To see a rise in the number of these young adults confidently entering the workplace and making an invaluable contribution to society is extremely positive and we will continue to build on this.” 

Wilson Stuart is located in Perry Common, Erdington, and caters for 173 pupils. Some pupils have additional difficulties including sensory impairment, learning difficulties, communication difficulties or complex medical conditions. 

With purpose built facilities and highly trained, enthusiastic and committed staff, the 19-25 department helps prepare students for life post 19 by offering valuable extra-curricular activities, work experiences and delivering key life skills as part of the overall curriculum. 

The school received an ‘outstanding’ rating in its last five Ofsted inspections.

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