Young adults with autism and other learning disabilities supported into work through new initiative steered by Bromley borough partnership

Published Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Young people with autism and other learning disabilities, eager to find work, can take advantage of an innovative new internship programme launched by Bromley Council in collaboration with London South East Colleges and the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH).

The aim of this bespoke one-year programme is to offer employment training and on- the-job experience to support those with additional needs into work through college learning and practical internships offered by the hospital.

Successful applicants will study a range of topics and gain skills to encourage a positive mindset to employment. Aspects of the programme covered in the classroom will include problem solving at work, working in a team, as well as English and Maths. As part of the internship, there will be a chance to try a variety of roles within the hospital including hospitality and catering, porterage, reception duties or housekeeping duties, as well as data input and business administration. The five-day a week programme will run in term time, beginning in September and running until July 2022.

The impetus for this new collaborative approach to supporting young people with SEND into employment came through the work of Bromley’s Borough Strategic Partnership chaired by Bromley Council Chief Executive, Ade Adetosoye OBE, who said: “We believe that everyone should be able to develop to their full potential and be given an opportunity to play a part in society, including taking part in meaningful employment where possible. I am wholeheartedly in favour of collaboration with our partners to achieve the best outcomes for our residents.”

Chief Executive and Group Principal of London South East Colleges, Dr Sam Parrett CBE, said: “Working in partnership, and as a whole system, we will be raising awareness of the value and benefits of developing a seamlessly inclusive workforce, whilst providing excellent opportunities for young people with SEND to develop a wide range of employability skills within a large organisation.”

Jonathan Lofthouse, Chief Executive, Princess Royal University Hospital said: “The PRUH is really proud to be partnering with Bromley to expand local social opportunity and support the young people of our borough. We are looking forward to working with the council and the college to further the lifelong ambitions of these young people by helping them develop their skills for the future.”

Also, lending her support to the programme, Councillor Kate Lymer, Executive Member for Children, Families and Education said: “We understand that looking for work can be stressful, particularly if you have autism or other learning disability, so we wanted to devise a programme that would address some of the potential perceived barriers to employment. Armed with training, work experience, sound advice and access to a well-informed employer, a learning disability need not hamper ambition.

“This programme aims to put all the pieces of the jigsaw in place to help those with additional needs springboard confidently into employment and have the chance to reach their full potential in an interesting and satisfying role. We hope that this initial partnership will set an example and pave the way for many more in other business sectors within our borough.” 

Please see more information and how to apply on the South East London Colleges website