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New Empower Programme Supports Adults to move into Inclusive Employment


Weston College and North Somerset Council are proud to announce the arrival of Empower an innovative initiative dedicated to supporting individuals with learning difficulties, learning disabilities, or autism on their journey to meaningful employment. The scheme is being funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. As one of four national Centres for Excellence SEND, Weston College seeks to support employers to create inclusive work environments, supporting diverse recruitment practices to enable people with learning differences to enter the workforce. This new initiative is part of the college's Supported Employment Excellence Hub, a network built to support individuals from 16 – 60 into paid employment.

Both the College and the Council are proud to lead this essential initiative, driving positive change and fostering inclusivity in the workforce. Empower aims to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals facing unique challenges in the workforce. With only 5.7% of people with Learning Difficulties and disabilities in full-time employment, there is a need to support individuals to break down the barriers into work. The funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will play a crucial role in delivering a comprehensive program designed to empower participants and facilitate their successful integration into the job market.

The initiative encompasses an initial assessment and support planning phase, where specific needs, skills, and aspirations are identified. A 'career passport' is created to guide participants on their pathway to paid work, and personalised vocational support plans are developed with achievable outcomes in mind.

Nicola Lace, SEND Operations Manager at the College commented: "We are very pleased to be able to extend our support to adults in the community through the Empower programme, which aims to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals facing unique challenges in the workforce. This initiative will play a crucial role in empowering participants and facilitating their successful integration into the job market."

As part of the programme, participants will undergo skill enhancement and training, which includes guided training, specialised interventions, work experience opportunities, and job coaching tailored to individual support plans. Specialised training will focus on enhancing employability skills, covering interpersonal, vocational, and industry-specific aspects.

Upon securing suitable employment, participants will receive extended support, including job coaching, to ensure a smooth transition into the workplace over 12 months.

The initiative concludes with a comprehensive programme review after 12 months, followed by ongoing follow-ups to track participants' progress and provide additional support if needed.

Individuals interested in joining the Empower initiative can either self-refer or be supported by external organisations, and/or partner agencies. For more information or to express interest, please contact empower@weston.ac.uk

Further details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and places, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus

If you are passionate about education and are looking for an opportunity to join the staff team at a leading college, then look at the latest job vacancies available at Weston College here. You can find all the latest job opportunities that Weston College has to offer, with a commitment to providing quality education for learners and a focus on continuous professional development for staff, Weston College is an excellent place to work and grow in your career.

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