Improving employment opportunities for learners with SEND

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has extended its Centres for Excellence in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (CfESEND) offer by commissioning eight new employer spokes across the country. 

The new employer spokes are being hosted by eight Further Education (FE) providers that have particularly strong relationships with a wide range of employers, including those with a track record of employing learners with SEND. The spokes bring together FE providers with employers from different industry sectors to show how businesses can benefit from diversifying their workforce.

The new eight employer spokes are led by the following FE providers:

  • LTE Group with an offer led by NHS and start-up businesses
  • Oldham College with an offer led by a range of trend-setting SMEs
  • National Star with an offer led by wealth management, facilities management and learner self-employment
  • Luminate Group with an offer led by museums and art galleries
  • Activate Learning with an offer led by National Grid and their learning companies
  • Hampshire County Council with an offer led by construction (highways) and employment hubs
  • London South East Colleges with an offer led by theatres and sports
  • Dynamic Training with an offer led by health and social care with a specific focus on supported apprenticeships.

The spokes will be hosting a number of activities and events up until March 2022 at which employers will talk about the difference employing learners with SEND has made to their business and workforce. They will also discuss the benefits of working closely with FE providers to ensure that the curriculum meets the needs of the modern workplace. Learners with SEND will also host one of these activities to showcase their skills. They will be open to all employers and FE providers to pick up ideas so that they too might improve the employability prospects of their learners.

Teresa Carroll, National Head of Inclusion at ETF explained: “As the country recovers from the effects of both Brexit and the Covid pandemic, those with SEND are a huge untapped resource to employers and businesses. Eighty one per cent of non disabled people are employed whilst only 52% of people with disabilities are employed, hiring people with SEND is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense too.”

To find out more about the new spokes and upcoming activities visit Centres for Excellence in SEND area of the ETF SEND site and sign up for ETF newsletters.

The CfESEND programme provides expert support for leaders, managers and practitioners who wish to put learners with SEND at the centre of their organisation as part of a Department for Education (DfE) funded national programme. The Centres are hosted by Weston College, Derby College and City College Norwich. The programme began in 2019.