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Liverpool Invest to Change Project Evaluation 2008 – 2009

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How the whole thing came about is that we were fortunate to get LSC funding from Invest to Change back in 2007 and one of the things we did was undertake a consultation with young people with LLDD, looking at what is it they wish to move onto at 16 or 18 and where did they feel they had opportunities and perhaps where opportunities were missing and one message that came out really clear and strong was that they felt they had excellent progression into FE, but perhaps they didn't have as wide a choice into work based learning as they would have liked. So one of the things we tried to do in 2008/9 is really look at spear-heading opening up choices to learners and we looked specifically at learners with severe learning difficulties and learners from the autistic spectrum in the first year. Initially OSSME was contacted by Hilary Venney to do some training on Autism Spectrum Disorder to work based training providers. That took place in Speke a few months ago. From that, we looked at the evaluations and found that there were particular companies like Training Plus that wanted bespoke training. to help them support students with ASD in their workplace and their environment. So that's taken place over a number of sessions. Our involvement as a work based learning provider has been around seeing how we can break down the barriers for young people into apprenticeships and we run programmes here in child care, administration and hairdressing. As they become more successful, obviously we're interesting in making them more and more open as we can. and engaging with young people and employers in a wider sense. We at the college identified that there was a need to improve transition for young people from special schools into FE, and the project enabled us to release a specialist qualified, specialist member of staff from our college team to go into special schools in the last year and to undertake initial assessments to look at what level they were operating at in respect to the pre entry curriculum framework for literacy and numeracy and look at their cognitive levels and their conceptual understanding and compose a thorough assessment to then give impartial advice and guidance as to what would be the relevant course in FE We've worked at building and spear-heading partnerships and relationships between providers, specialists such as OSSME and special school staff who have got years and years of experience working with young people with ASD or SLD and really building relationships between providers and between special schools, learners and FE. We're also part of the steering group committee, which again has provided opportunities for us to find out more about what is going on in and around Liverpool and to support each other in again providing quality training for people who are working with young people with ASD. OSSME are also able to tailor make transition packages both for students and for the employer and this this offers a support network so that the student or young person with ASD can successfully go from one environment to another environment as smoothly as possible. This also helps the employer to understand the young person with ASD's view of their new environment to make them feel more comfortable in their new environment that they are going to be entering. The training has hugely benefited our organisation, OSSME gave us strategies we could use to support the needs of the learners. It's given us a great awareness of how broad the ASD spectrum really is and then that's given us the ability to help the students make the transition from education into employment. It's good because then you're bringing a more diverse group of people into the workplace and make everyone else feel equal. It's really developed our providers in relation to how they support learners with learning difficulties, because that's always an issue for us. A lot of funding is designed for main stream activities, but this is enhancing those with learning difficulties. We're beginning to open up a much broader choice of options for learners with ASD within work based learning. Just those simple techniques, the ones that don't cost a phenomenal amount of money can absolutely enhance and make our teaching practice so much more inclusive. In actual fact, one of the obvious ways we've benefited here in terms of the training that we've received around ASD was that our Learning & Recruitment Manager and Senior Recruitment Consultant, who've been recruiting young people onto various training programs for the last 20 years in this city have sat in that training session and realised that they have been looking at young people, who they would consider now to be on the ASD spectrum, but previously may have considered were not alert, not attentive, didn't want it enough and maybe have been referred onto something else and I think that even of itself is a phenomenal milestone really in our learning about the wider agenda of learning difficulty and the specifics of that, and something that we can address quite significantly. The main success that has come across to me is the joint working that has been brought about by the project, from a number of committed personnel. It's also allowed us to work together to find out how we can facilitate opportunities for the young people that we support with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, to actually access the opportunities to develop from school into work based learning, therefore into the workplace and into college as well. It's allowed the OSSME service to develop the role that they have with supporting young people with ASD It's been interesting for us to learn what is actually required by work based learners, to help support placements for young people with ASD to be successful. I think we've gained a confidence around the mystique of learning difficulty over time, there's no two ways about that I think without a doubt we trail-blazed ourselves, not the world or the country but we trail-blazed ourselves on dyslexia. We've got to a point where we don't get freaked out about it, we don't even get edgy about it now, it's part of our normal everyday working processes to deal with dyslexia and quite effectively too. Of course that confidence comes across to the learners so we just get a successful outcome because everything is about confidence generally, whatever learning difficulty or disability we're talking about, really what we're talking about is a person's confidence. I think going forward, some further training for staff at Training Plus, so we could specifically mentor learners with ASD who come on board with us. Also some training for employers so that employers can help support the needs and utilise the strengths of the students with ASD. I think that what has been useful is to have regular meetings with other partners in the project to determine ways forward. From OSSME's perspective we would like to support and develop a transition package to support young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to have a very smooth transition into work based learning providing placements or colleges. I can see that we can be integral with the other agencies involved in developing that package and it would be very much tailor made to address each person individual needs. If the funding comes through for the future, we'll look to develop on this year because it's been a really positive project. We'll look to develop learning in other areas of disability, which could be dyslexia or any other type of provision that in conjunction with our partners is we feel is needed. and that will be a real benefit to the area. what we must remember is that small things are sometimes good outcomes, and not a great big qualification which is typically what we expect. Sometimes it can be just about getting a young person to engage in the world on a regular basis. That's what we might call a soft outcome really, but nether the less a very very important one. What Liverpool want to achieve with the Invest To Change funding is to really widen choice for young people in Liverpool with learning difficulties and disabilities so that they have a broad range of opportunities so that they can have successful and fulfilled lives.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 30 seconds
Year: 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Training Plus merseyside
Director: Tim Brunsden
Views: 177
Posted by: mrbgq on Sep 23, 2009

Liverpool 14-19 Team's 'Invest to Change' project funded by LSC supports the transition of Liverpool young people with learning difficulties and disabilities into the workplace and FE.

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