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Business brunch sees a step forward in increasing work opportunities for young people with special and educational needs (SEND)

19 January 2024

A man standing at a lectern giving a talk on SEND

Over 50 businesses in West Northamptonshire have come together to increase opportunities for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in the workplace.

Held by West Northamptonshire SEND Partnership, the ‘Business Brunch’ brings together local employers to start the conversation around employment opportunities for young people with SEND and how together, improvement can be made on current employment figures in West Northants:

  • 86% of people with Special Needs would like to work
  • 22% National percentage for adults with Autism in employment
  • 4.7% National percentage for adults with learning disabilities in employment
  • 1.4% West Northamptonshire figures for adults with learning disabilities in employment

The first ‘Business Brunch’ saw real enthusiasm in the room from employers as conversations looked at how employers can better support young people with SEND and increase opportunities to support them in employment, preparing them for their adulthood journey.

At the heart of the Business Brunch, included hearing from young people with SEND who are currently in work or have experienced the employment process, as well as hearing from employers such as Kempston Controls GXO who currently have employees with SEND who explained the positive impact these colleagues have on the workplace.

Every child and young person deserves the same opportunities in employment and those with SEND have so much to offer – they bring new ideas, experiences and skills to the workplace, all in which are really valuable.

I am incredibly passionate about this piece of work and how together with the business sector we can improve work opportunities for our young people. The figures quoted above are stark and show just how important this project is. It was really encouraging to see so many businesses come along to the brunch, all keen to find out more, share their ideas and be involved. This project is at the beginning with lots more understanding and scoping to get us to where we want to be, however I am confident from conversations in the room that together, we can take this work forward in a way that will make a difference.
Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills at WNC

Include a link for further opportunities or where people can find out more please contact: [email protected]

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