Welcome to the Expanding Worlds Podcast
In this the first episode of a new series on Bridging The Gap I’m talking to two people from The Oaks Specialist College based in the UK. This episode is really about vision. Gordon Tillman, the CEO, discusses why The Oaks came into existence and its role not only in changing the lives of the young people it supports but also changing the perceptions of businesses and communities. Jackie Thurtle, the Project Manager at The Oaks, discusses the challenges with bringing the vision into reality
In this the final episode of this Ways into Work series I’m doing a solo episode to talk about my learnings from the past 8 episodes. It’s definitely not a recap of the previous episodes but more my ideas around the two things I see as being pivotal in enabling many more young people to get into paid employment.
Firstly perceptions, if we change these we change everything. The soft bigotry of low expectations is there for young people with additional needs and through employment
In this episode the focus is on Apprenticeships as one of the Ways Into Work. Mark Capper, the Business Development Manager at Mencap UK, discusses the role that supported internships and traineeships play in preparing people for work. He outlines how apprenticeships differ from these and the challenges that young people can face in getting an apprenticeship, often related to the apprenticeship standards as well as a reticence from some training providers
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.
There is also an additional consideration that serves as the foundation of all these – financial security. Like it or not money often dictates how we live our lives, and we need to confront the issue of how our children will survive financially when we are gone. Money is an essential building block to achieving greater independence. Money is not only about the day to day management of money but also the financial planning necessary by us to give our children the opportunity to live an independent life. For free resources around each of these areas visit redgiraffesolutions.com
In this episode of The Ways Into Work series, the focus is on the barriers that prevent many young people, with additional needs, getting and keeping paid employment. Kirsty Timberlake from Neurodiversally Unbroken discusses the barriers that are in place and ways to break those barriers down. Kirsty is on a mission to educate and enlighten people, through her own life experiences and by sharing the latest research, to break down stereotypes and encourage people to think not assume.
The focus of this episode, in the Ways Into Work series, is Supported Employment with David Stenning from The Education People. David talks about the Supported Employment model and putting the young person at the centre but also supporting those around them. He discusses how vocational profiling helps in teasing out the transferable skills that a young person may have. David explains why employer engagement and educating employers about issues like reasonable adjustments is so important.
In this the second part of Ways Into Work – Inclusive Job Boards Jane Hatton from Evenbreak discusses the importance of young people with additional needs learning to truly value the transferable work skills they already have, which have often been developed because of their life experiences. She also talks about the role parents play in helping create that sense of self worth in their children, reminding them of their unique talents and why these will be useful when they look for work.