The Black Country Skills Factory – a Ladder for the Black Country stakeholder – and Black Country Careers Hub have secured two venues to offer work experience to young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, in the form of a pop-up shop.
Young people will either develop their own marketing campaigns to ask for donations of pre-loved items to sell or sell their own hand-crafted items, or a mix of both. The venues supporting this initiative include Provision House in Dudley and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
In 2020-2021 the percentage of adults with learning difficulties in employment in the UK was only 5.1 per cent. In The Black Country the rates are; Dudley 3.9 per cent, Sandwell 0.7 per cent, Walsall 3.3 per cent and Wolverhampton 5.4 per cent.
The Black Country Skills Factory and The Black Country Careers Hub hope this experience will help to prepare young people to access paid employment in the future, develop their employability skills and enrich their CV.
There is a big lack of opportunity for real work experience in the region for SEND young people.
Research evidence analysed for the Careers and Enterprise Company suggests that work experience is effective in enabling young people and young adults with SEND to make a successful move from school to further or higher education, training, employment or self-employment, including apprenticeships.
Experiences of the workplace can demonstrate the capabilities of young people while providing them with first-hand knowledge of the working environment and this is what it is hoped to achieve with the project.
Currently there are two locations with 255 SEND pupils benefitting from 14 settings across the region.
The pop-up shops started on Tuesday in Dudley and will start on May 16 in Wolverhampton.
The Ladder for the Black Country is the apprenticeships programme supported by the Express & Star. Visit ladderfortheblackcountry.co.uk