As part of the Transitions team we have the Voiceworks work experience project. This offers flexible, bespoke work experience placements to young people with learning disabilities and/or Autism aged 15 to 18.

Voiceworks aims to improve the progression, aspirations, goals and employability skills of young people in Gateshead within the context of meaningful work experience placement.

We aim to offer a wide range of bespoke high-quality work experience placements to young people aged 15-19 who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), Autism, learning or physical disabilities in Gateshead – especially for young people who traditionally find it difficult to access work experience opportunities to enhance their real-life work skills in a range of placements.

How the placement works

The young person will initially complete a vocational profile assessment. The assessment will identify the type of work experience they want to undertake, and any support needs and requirements they may have

The placement will be totally flexible and be designed to meet the young persons and employers needs and requirements. For example, a placement can consist of one hour per week, one afternoon per week, or one day per week over a term.

Placement support

An employment support assistant will work alongside the young person to assist them with independent travel skills to and from their placement. In the workplace the young person will be supported by named mentors. The mentors will have detailed information on the young person and their individual support needs and requirements.

Additional support and workplace adjustments will be in place to address and remove any barriers to accessing a quality work experience placement.

What happens on a placement

The young person will be given real tasks and duties doing a real job, and will be treated as part of the team. They will also complete a work placement diary, recording what they have completed and achieved during their placement.

Safety

All placements will have a thorough Health and Safety Risk Assessment completed prior to the placement starting. Employers will also make any necessary adjustments to the work place to accommodate the young person.

Gateshead has numerous ways for young people with additional needs to access employment opportunities. In this film, young adults adults with disabilities from the region talk about their journey into the world of work: