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How do we tackle the SEND Cliff - edge?

29 Nov 2023

Leicestershire Cares has, for many years, worked alongside the education sector, both mainstream and SEND, to deliver volunteer led employability events.

Whilst we focus primarily on young people in Key Stage Four (15-16) we are becoming more aware of the emerging risks to SEND young people who are nearing the end of their post-16 education. SEND education often provides protective factors for SEND young people in terms of education, social interactions, physical activity, routine and overall wellbeing.

This level of support and intervention could easily have been available to this young person for a number of years, however this currently stands in stark contrast to “Post 19” where, for most young people support dries up.

Then what happens? We begin to see them fall off the cliff edge.

SEND young people in the main struggle to engage with the labour market, everyday social and life skills and without the 1-1 support they have received in education they can often withdraw, lose routine and suffer financially.

As an economy, we face a sobering truth that only 5.9% of people with disabilities are in employment. As employers, we must step up to play our part in creating lasting change.

Thoughts from the former Chair of the CEC Board and Chair of Severn Trent Board, Christine Hodgson (for The Careers and Enterprise Company)

Our “Altogether Now” Project" will focus on engaging young people in their final Post 16 year, whilst still attending their SEND Provision and provide volunteer led employability sessions to begin moving young people closer to the labour market.

We will be working with a number of SEND schools in Leicester and Leicestershire over the next 3 years, linking them with some of our local business members who will be able to offer key learning opportunities such as Work Tours, CV workshops and interview skills sessions.

When young people finish school we won’t wait for the summer holiday lull to set in – we aim to work with those young people 1-1 to move them into employment and voluntary opportunities as soon as possible and provide a much needed antidote to the SEND Cliff – edge.

For further information about our work with SEND young people contact Annie Britton