Hampshire County Council marks National Inclusion Week with a call to local employers to take action

Hampshire County Council is marking National Inclusion Week this week by urging more employers to work with the Local Authority to support young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) into the world of work.

Sep 25 2023

During National Inclusion Week (25 September – 1 October), the County Council is supporting two key events as part of its work with employers and colleges to help SEND young people into the workforce.

Councillor Steve Forster, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Businesses across Hampshire can make a huge difference in supporting young people into work by offering different opportunities including introductions to the workplace, mock interviews and CV writing support, work experience placements, supported internships and supported apprenticeships. We are keen to hear from any employer who is interested in working with the County Council to offer any of these placements – our dedicated support team will be on hand to offer support throughout the process.”

The first event sees the County Council inviting local hospitality and catering businesses to discover the benefits of employing young people with special educational needs and disabilities at an online event from 10am to 12pm.

The event will include case studies from employers in the sector, explaining how employing young people with SEND has helped their businesses. Employers will also have the opportunity to hear about the support that colleges and education providers can give to businesses to ensure the right young person is placed in the right job. Registration is now open.

The County Council is also delighted to be taking part in the opening of a brand new £4.9 million SEND Independence Hub at Brockenhurst college this week. The building contains 14 new classrooms, social space, staff space, meeting rooms, a medical room, a hygiene room and a sensory room, among other facilities.

Funding of £4m for the project has been provided by the Department for Education’s £83m Post-16 Capacity Fund, which is earmarked for accommodating the forecast increase in learners. This was made possible thanks to match funding of £0.9m from the Local Authority through its High Needs Capital Funding, which is dedicated to creating additional SEND places across the county.

To further support young people with SEND, Independence Hubs are being rolled out across Hampshire as part of the County Council’s ‘All Our Talents’ SEND Employability Action Plan. The hubs bring together workplace and non-workplace learning to develop and deliver a flexible programe, focusing on the elements young people with SEND need to gain independence and skills that maximise progression into sustained employment, transforming the life chances of young people.

The first Hub, based within the Alton campus of further education college HSDC, was opened in 2021, and an additional facility at Sparsholt College is due to open later this year.

If you are an employer who would like to offer a placement for a young person, please contact [email protected] or come along and meet the SEND Employability Team at the Hampshire Business Expo event, 19 October, at the AGEAS Bowl, Stand 9.