Welcome to the Expanding Worlds Podcast
After speaking to organisations in both the UK and USA, I believe there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic in the future, despite the recent impact of employment opportunities for young people with additional needs due to Covid. It seems to me that we collectively have a stronger sense of community after the last year, and we place greater value on other human beings. If we capitalise on this change in priorities then, just maybe, we can change presumptions when it comes to employment.
The pandemic will have a disproportionate effect on the lives of young people with additional needs. This is true. But whilst there are organisations out there like Spectrum designs then it’s not all bad news. In this episode, the final episode in my series on the impact of the pandemic on employment for young people with additional needs, I talk to Tim and Patrick from Spectrum Designs about how they have dealt with the last year and how they are committed to keep moving forward to create even more work opportunities.
Who opens a coffee shop during a pandemic? Well the guys at Able Coffee Roasters do! In this episode,part of the series on the impact of the pandemic on employment for young people with additional needs, I talk to Adeel and Anthony about exactly how they did this and why community support has helped them do even better than they had expected. Just like a good coffee this episode really is a wake up call to what is possible, even during a pandemic.
How many friends do you have? Possibly not as many as you had before you had a child with additional needs. This is a harsh but true fact. Friends slowly disappear because they don’t understand or they’re afraid. I have both lost and gained friends because my daughter has additional needs. It’s a bit like when someone passes away some people come around others stay away because they don’t know what to say.
My ultimate objective is to get rid of my daughter. That’s not quite as bad as it sounds! My goal is to enable my youngest daughter to move out and live in a place of her own. When I have spoken on the podcast to people involved in training programs, one common theme has been that often the young people that come to them lack some of the basic daily living skills.
What’s in a part time or Saturday job? An awful lot, I believe, if you’re a young person with additional needs. I should qualify that by acknowledging that for some young people there will be restrictions on the kind of jobs they can hold down because of the nature of their needs.
Young people with additional needs should have the opportunity to live independently in a way right for them. The podcast is about sharing stories and sharing solutions that enable parents and carers to support them on this path to greater independence.
Independence for most people consists of three things:
1) Having a purpose for the day – usually paid employment, but possibly a place to go to make a contribution to the world.
2) Having the daily living skills for independence – being able to look after ourselves, cooking, shopping.
3) Having relationships with family, friends and maybe a partner one day.
Neil Willows, from Pure Innovations, discusses the impact of Covid and the UK lockdown on the supported internship programs Pure Innovations runs. He talks about the effect it has had on paid employment opportunities and young people’s mental health. But he also outlines the ways they are working to open up job roles and find new ways to help young people get work placements that will enable them to one day move into paid employment.
Alison Berkley from Invictus Enterprises talks about the impact of the pandemic on Invictus and how the way they’ve responded has actually opened up new opportunities. She explains how the pandemic meant that future plans they had for program delivery got accelerated and why the pandemic could be a catalyst for more easily sharing best practice and the growth of community based employment opportunities.
David Hunter from Acceptable Enterprises talks about the impact of the pandemic on their various businesses. While the online business is growing, other parts haven’t been so lucky. But opportunities to pivot have been found as well the chance to expand other initiatives. Find out why David is also focused on showing how providing social value has an economic value and why social enterprises could help solve some of the logistics issues the pandemic has highlighted.