CfESEND blog: City College Norwich share employers’ views on employing a learner with SEND

Blog by Elaine Dale, Director of SEND at City College Norwich (CCN), for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.

In our recent webinars we have been looking at Department for Work and Pensions employment data of disabled people where the statistics relate to the employment of working age disabled people in the UK.

We know that:

  • 8.1 million people of working age (16-64) reported a disability in 2019
  • 4.4 million people with disability are working
  • 54% employment rate for people with a disability
  • 28.1% lower than people without a disability.

This provides us with the context for the government’s goal and its commitment to reduce the employment rate gap with non-disabled people.

Working in the FE sector we are working hard to help narrow the disability employment gap and we have been sharing our effective practice approaches on how we engage and support our local employers.

We also know we need the support from senior leaders not only from our sector but from executive teams within our communities as well. There is a strong business case for diversity in the workforce and we are seeing this step change with leaders building teams that reflect their community.

We know that diverse teams out-perform those who do not have a diverse team as they are able to make better decisions. As a leader, if you would like to hear more about this and business sense approaches, why not book a 1:1 with Corrienne (CCN CEO and Principal) through CFESEND@ccn.ac.uk. You can also join our Inclusive Leadership, enabling for step change webinar where the three leaders from the Centres for Excellence in SEND – Corrienne, Paul and Mandie – will share what they have learned from leadership conversations and how this might inform thought and action for your organisation. They will talk about cultural change, stakeholder partnerships, and organisational approaches.

In a recent webinar on understanding what employers need to employ learners with SEND, employer Bradley Tuckfield manager from a local Co-op, shared his experience of working with the college and learners with SEND. He passionately showed his commitment of offering work experience, employer talks and social responsibility in employing learners with SEND. His refreshing approach inspired everyone who attended the webinar to engage with employers with greater confidence.

Bradley noted:

I really struggled at school and found it difficult to focus and it’s important for me to give opportunities for learners.

Taking a ‘see it, believe it’ approach. Bradley says, ‘I think my role model approach allows learners to see what they can achieve, when they come and work for us.

I don’t think about the disability, I think about the individual and what they might need to help them be successful.’

Those who attended the webinar noted:

So inspirational to hear your positive and inclusive approach thank you!’ Kim Helm from Chelmsford College.

Amazing to hear how you speak of your positive experience. We are all stakeholders within the SEND environment, what we really need is this positive message cascading to the wider employers.’ Rebecca Ward North Yorkshire local authority.

If you would like to find out more about our approaches to business sense employer engagement, please join our next webinar on Friday 4 June 3:00pm.

Please also keep a watchful eye on the Centres for Excellence area of the SEND site on the Excellence Gateway for resources, webinars and updates.

I look forward to seeing in one of our upcoming webinars but for now, take care and see you soon. 

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